My Dad (center), me, and the judge
when my Dad became a U.S. citizen.
My Dad was so happy that say.
By Davy V.
'A Promise To My Dad' is a documentary film about a promise I made to my father at his wake, after he committed suicide.
The short film will explore my dad Mario Vara's life as he leaves Cuba with my mom and my brother in 1968, in search of freedom and a better life for his family.
After moving to Rochester, NY, my dad realized that despite the promises of freedom and liberty that a life in America held, the harsh reality is that there are also many injustices as well.
In fact, my Dad will soon face very similar 'police state' tactics, as the ones he escaped his homeland for in the first place.
'A Promise to My Dad' highlights an incident in the 1980's, when Rochester, NY Police officers Mark Mariano and Randall Benjamin kicked down our home's front door, and illegally entered out home, terrorizing our family at gunpoint, even threatening to shoot our dog.
As a result of this incident. my father Mario Vara became outspoken against police abuse and misconduct.
Unlike many Americans who take their rights for granted, my Dad took a stand to denounce law enforcement violating U.S. citizen's civil rights.
Having lived a communist dictatorship, my father knew all too well what it was like to live in a totalitarian police state, where simply expressing one's dislike for Castro and his government could land you in prison.
My Dad was passionate in his denouncement of rogue cops abusing and violating citizen's civil rights in the U.S.
As a teen. I would tag along with my Dad and accompany him to community meetings, rallies, and marches where my Dad demanded accountability from those whose job is to serve and protect, as well as the elected officials whose job it is to keep them in check.
'A Promise To My Dad' features me telling my Dad's story, including talking about my father's depression and how it led to my father committing suicide in 1993.
'A Promise to My Dad' follows me as I struggle to keep the promise I made to my father to continue his work against police misconduct and corruption, while at the same time trying to find my own identity as a young man, then as a father myself.
Throughout the film I will confront my own struggles with depression, my father's suicide, and the effects that my work has brought to me and my family, including my children having received death threats.
One example of this came in August of 2014, when an ex-con who is known to work with the Rochester Police Department, as a paid confidential informant (C.I.) was captured on a store's surveillance video threatening to murder, and decapitate my 5-year old daughter.
Despite the video clearly showing the individual threatening to kill and decapitate an innocent child, Rochester Police and the Monroe County, NY District Attorney's office refused to charge the individual.
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