Author - activist - historiaN
Deirdre Sinnott is an independent scholar, filmmaker, author, and social change activist. Currently, she is a historical consultant and researcher for the Ft. Stanwix Underground Railroad History Project, funded by the National Parks Service. And she is working on a non-fiction book about the American abolition movement and Underground Railroad centered in her native Utica, New York. She also speaks about the lingering effects of racial injustice on society.
Sinnott has given talks at historical societies, national and regional history conferences, the National Abolition Hall of Fame & Museum’s program Resisting the New Jim Crow, colleges and universities, and Utica’s Abolition History Day Celebration. Additionally, she has spoken at Otisville Correctional Facility as part of the African American Organization’s Black History Month series.
Her writing has appeared in numerous places including The New York History Blog, the Utica Observer Dispatch, ForeWord Magazine, Hippocampus Magazine and the Catskill Review of Books. Her essay Right-sized Rats was nominated for a Pushcart Award by Hippocampus Magazine and appeared in the publication’s anthology titled Selected Memories.
Sinnott, who has a background in theatre, has directed two award-winning documentaries on social justice and mass incarceration issues, 23 Reasons Why 23 Years is Enough: Clemency for Pascual Carpenter and Multiple Injuries.
23 Reasons explores the highly-publicized and racially-charged case of one of the seven young men convicted of felony-murder in the 1990 New York City subway death of Utah tourist Brian Watkins and brings to light reasons Carpenter, an unarmed lookout in the spur-of-the-moment robbery gone horribly awry, should be granted clemency. The film received an Award of Merit from the Best Shorts Competition as did Multiple Injuries, a film about Mark Gizewski – a survivor of thalidomide, a morning sickness drug given to his mother during pregnancy that caused severe birth defects to thousands of children – and his struggle to be released from prison for humanitarian reasons. Both men were paroled in 2015. In 2018, Mr. Gizewski subsequently died of a heart attack.
Sinnott attended Syracuse University where she earned a BFA in Acting/Directing from the school’s prestigious theatre program. She lives in New York City’s East Village and loves the Catskill Mountains.