We will be watching When They See Us by Ava DuVernay (available on Netflix). There are 4 episodes, we suggest watching one each week.
From Array 101:
"WHEN THEY SEE US tells the harrowing story of New York’s Exonerated Five. A film in four parts, the series chronicles the wrongful arrest and incarceration of teenagers Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana Jr. and Korey Wise. It explores how the five innocent teens were prejudged as guilty by a powerful criminal justice machine and examines how The Exonerated Five, their families and communities were rendered powerless against a biased criminal justice system, coercive police interrogation practices and sensationalist media coverage.
The film is a commentary on long-standing institutions and systems within the United States that were built to oppress and control citizens. These institutions and systems falsely accuse and wrongly persecute vulnerable citizens and their communities. They have created long-lasting and far-reaching implications for physical, emotional, financial and psychological safety.
In 1989, The Exonerated Five, all seventh and eighth-grade students of color from Harlem, were wrongfully arrested and incarcerated for the rape and beating of Patricia Meili, a white female jogger in Manhattan’s Central Park. This four-part series, directed by Ava DuVernay, tells the story of The Exonerated Five for the first time from the perspective of the innocent teenagers and their families.
Although no fingerprints, DNA nor other physical evidence ever confirmed the teenagers were guilty of the brutal crime, all five were sentenced to between five and 15 years in prison and juvenile detention centers. As The Exonerated Five have described in their civil lawsuit, the city’s detectives coerced them into giving false confessions and statements. In 2002 — 13 years after the crime — DNA evidence and a confession from the lone attacker, Matias Reyes, proved their innocence.
New York City vacated the convictions of the young men, and they were all fully exonerated. In 2014, The Exonerated Five settled with the city for an unprecedented $41 million."
Please read the full NYTimes review here.
“And for everyone who says it’s ‘hard to watch,’ think about the people who still find it ‘hard to live.’”
— Oprah Winfrey, Executive Producer, WHEN THEY SEE US
Discuss Monday July 27th
Come join us for a community conversation driven by Ava DuVernay's discussion guide. Socially distanced and wearing masks, of course!