“Message from Ava Duvernay about #WhenTheySeeUs – Central Park Five”
Jun 5, 2019

Ava DuVernay here. I’m a filmmaker who created and directed Selma, 13th, Queen Sugar, Wrinkle In Time and now When They See Us.

When They See Us is a four-part film with a stellar cast that chronicles the case of the men commonly known as The Central Park Five. The story we tell will transport you to New York City in 1989 and follow five Black and Latino teenagers who are falsely accused, convicted and imprisoned for a rape that they did not commit.

When They See Us is a love letter to these men, whose childhoods were stolen by this harrowing case. It is also a love letter to the millions of boys and girls of color who are presumed guilty on sight. My goal is to shed light on the inequities and the bias that makes a case like this possible. We explore a travesty of justice laid bare. We chronicle a broken system fueled by politics, profit and inaction. But we can and should take action.

I’ve been partnering with Color Of Change for years. Their “Winning Justice” campaign is rallying Black communities to come together and set the agenda for a new wave of prosecutors. Prosecutors have more power than anyone else in the system to fix the system. And in a dozen cities, thanks to many of you, we now have prosecutors being measured by their commitment to justice rather than by how many people they put in prison. I’m hoping you’ll watch When They See Us and be moved to discuss and interrogate the the current criminal system of injustice. But I also hope you don’t stop there.

Here’s how you can make your voice heard:

Visit Winning Justice to join campaigns to stop over-policing and racial profiling in our communities

  • to reform our bail system so people’s freedom is not determined by how much they can pay for it;
  • to treat children in the system like children and not criminals;
  • to hold prosecutors accountable for wrongful conviction

And so much more.

You really can make a difference.


Ava DuVernay

Color Of Change is building a movement to elevate the voices of Black folks and our allies, and win real social and political change. Help keep our movement strong.

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