Some resources for those of you wanting to spend some time expanding your education and awareness:
Movies – Documentaries
Roots ~8 hours
7 emmy nominations. An eight-hour event series, “Roots” is a historical portrait of one family’s journey through American slavery and their will to survive and preserve their legacy in the face of unimaginable hardship.
12 Years a Slave ~2 hours
A 2013 biographical period-drama film and an adaptation of the 1853 slave memoir Twelve Years a Slave by Solomon Northup, a New York State-born free African-American man who was kidnapped in Washington, D.C. by two conmen in 1841 and sold into slavery.
Selma ~2 hours
Detroit ~2 hours
This film is hard to watch but keep in mind it was harder to live! In the summer of 1967, rioting and civil unrest starts to tear apart the city of Detroit. Two days later, a report of gunshots prompts the Detroit Police Department, the Michigan State Police and the Michigan Army National Guard to search and seize an annex of the nearby Algiers Motel. Several policemen start to flout procedure by forcefully and viciously interrogating guests to get a confession. By the end of the night, three unarmed men are gunned down while several others are brutally beaten.
Filmmaker Ava DuVernay explores the history of racial inequality in the United States, focusing on the fact that the nation’s prisons are disproportionately filled with African-Americans. America accounts for 5% of the world population and 25% of the world’s incarcerated population. Did you catch that? Black Men ~7% of our population account for greater than 40% of our prison population. There is a loophole in the 13th Amendment that allows for slave labor if you are imprisoned. Some of our largest Corporate brands benefit from this labor at less than a $1 an hour.
The House I Live In~2 hours
Award winning documentary. For the past 40 years, the war on drugs has resulted in more than 45 million arrests, $1 trillion dollars in government spending, and America’s role as the world’s largest jailer. Yet for all that, drugs are cheaper, purer, and more available than ever. Filmed in more than twenty states, The House I Live In captures heart-wrenching stories of those on the front lines — from the dealer to the grieving mother, the narcotics officer to the senator, the inmate to the federal judge — and offers a penetrating look at the profound human rights implications of America’s longest war.
Just Mercy ~2 hours
After graduating from Harvard, Bryan Stevenson heads to Alabama to defend those wrongly condemned or those not afforded proper representation. One of his first cases is that of Walter McMillian, who is sentenced to die in 1987 for the murder of an 18-year-old girl, despite evidence proving his innocence. In the years that follow, Stevenson encounters racism and legal and political maneuverings as he tirelessly fights for McMillian’s life.
True Justice ~90mins
Bryan Stevenson’s HBO Documentary, In the last half-century, America has become the nation with the highest rate of incarceration in the world, authorized the execution of hundreds of condemned prisoners and continued to struggle to recover from a long history of racial injustice. For more than three decades, Alabama public interest attorney Bryan Stevenson, founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative, has advocated on behalf of the poor, the incarcerated and the condemned, seeking to eradicate racial discrimination in the criminal justice system. An intimate portrait of this remarkable man, follows Bryan’s struggle to create greater fairness in the system and shows how racial injustice emerged, evolved and continues to threaten the country, challenging viewers to confront it.
Lifelong friends Daveed Diggs and Rafael Casal co-wrote and star in this timely and wildly entertaining story about the intersection of race and class set against the backdrop of a rapidly gentrifying Oakland. Collin must make it through his final three days of probation for a chance at a new beginning in his Oakland, Calif., neighborhood. His bond with his volatile best friend soon gets tested when Collin sees a police officer shoot a suspect in the back during a chase through the streets. Things soon come to a head when the buddies attend a party at the upscale home of a young and wealthy tech entrepreneur.
The Interrupters ~2 hours
Unforgettable profiles in courage, as three former street criminals in Chicago place themselves in the line of fire to protect their communities. The two-hour film follows the lives of these “Violence Interrupters,” who include the charismatic daughter of one of the city’s most notorious former gang leaders, the son of a murdered father, and a man haunted by a killing he committed as a teenager. As they intervene in disputes to prevent violence, they reveal their own inspired journeys of struggle and redemption.