Award-winning filmmaker Ava DuVernay released a series on Netflix about Central Park Five about a year ago. The series, When they see usexamines how race played a role in the guilty verdict of five young African-American men accused of raping a white woman in 1989, despite a lack of evidence linking them to the crime. Many years later, the men were acquitted after another man confessed.
When DuVernay spoke Within trouble, news of George Floyd’s death was just beginning to appear. She shared what inspired her to create Array 101, a free online learning partner that matches the movie When they see us, after saying to her directed the film Selmapeople started asking her where they could find more information on things like systemic injustice.
‘[With the documentary] 13thit was even more intense. So many people wanted to take action, wanted to know more, felt activated and inflamed by the information they received in the film, which is actually an introduction, just the tip of the iceberg, of what we should know and what we should learn , and I didn’t have that many tools to share, “she said.
When looking for resources to find answers to these questions, she couldn’t find what she was looking for, so she created Learning Companions, designed to ‘deepen the conversation and inspire personal action’ after watching the series, according to the website from the company. Array 101 is an extension of DuVernay’s film distribution company, Array, which produces and produces films aimed at colored people and women.
“We hope this is an example for our industry that it needs the entertainment industry, the storytellers, to connect with the students and schools. It is very difficult for teachers to reach us. It is easier for us to if we just put our back in it, that’s what we tried to do, “she said.
There is a math lesson for the movie When they see us, a film about social justice, civil rights and criminalization, in which students are invited to view data statistics available in major metropolises such as New York.
“We teach children to read mathematical statistics about crime and how to put those numbers together to understand a disproportionate arrest of certain people, mostly black men in certain areas, and those arrests don’t mean black people commit more crime, it means that they were arrested on suspicion of more crime than their white counterparts who commit the same amount of crime and different types. ”
Another lesson invites children to write a news story about Central Park Five from two perspectives: one as if the boys are innocent and one as if they are guilty.
“We’ll have the kids do them both until you reach the end of class, and you tell kids that journalists shouldn’t have perspective either,” she said. “You have to be agnostic and emotionless about it. We teach children about journalistic ethics. “
DuVernay said the apprentices are out for everything they produce, make and distribute.
“So that’s my new thing. Be the bridge. There has to be a bridge between places,” she said. “What we’re trying to do is understand that we need to give context to our anger so that it can become active and only knowledge of history and precedent does that. “
Let Inside the Issues know your thoughts and watch Spectrum News 1 Monday through Friday at 8:00 PM and 11:00 PM.