The 13th Amendment Ava DuVernay documentary

imgresWhen I was seven years old I lived in Ann Arbor Michigan.  I had two best friends, one was Beth, a girl whose parents were practicing Christian Scientists.  The other was Robin, an African American girl.   I don’t recall much of that time except my Mom ran the brownie troop and both Robin and Beth were part of the troop.  We talked about political issues around the kitchen table so I do remember we discussed Christian Scientists and being black in America.  It was 1968.

Those years were turbulent years for our country.  Lots of change was trying to take place, there was a push/pull from social past with the social future.  My parents went to Chicago to march.  They were liberal and believed that we are all created equal.  They believed in change.

There were different times of my life when I went deep in reading about black history from Invisible Man to James Baldwin and everything in between.  I have gone deep again reading more than a handful of books this year.  I have always thought that our nation has done wrong by the black community.  Through prejudices  and our own system we have destroyed generations of black families from being able to succeed.  Succeed means living in communities that are safe, where families are home to put a meal on the table, where jobs are abundant and a misdemeanor doesn’t put someone in jail for decades and life is just good.

In high school there were only a handful of black families who lived in our community.  There was also a low income housing area where the majority of black families lived. The kids from there were part of the community but in many ways they were not.  They felt disconnected and kept a certain distance.  What I always remember is although there were black kids that came from both economic sides of the fence in our community when it came to graduation day they all sat and stood together united.  It made an impact on me. 

Life has not been easy for a many black families.  Why?  Go watch the 13th.  It is a documentary that should be mandatory for every 6th grader in this country.  It is on Netflix and take time out to go watch it.  The movie shows how our country, our lawmakers, our Presidents have used racism to systemically incarcerate young black men for no other reason but to continue a new form of slavery for corporate Americas pockets.

The movie is powerful.  The people DuVernay interviews are leaders in the black community.  It has taken generations but there are now more black people in this country who are at the top of many industries.  These smart respected educated individuals tell their people’s history in a way that you would hope that everyone will take pause.  We are seeing racism rear an incredibly ugly head in this election straight out of Trump’s mouth and it is vile and unacceptable

Through social media we now see racism on the streets getting a daily glimpse into how this community has been treated for as long as they can remember and others have been blind to.  That is why I am hopeful that we are at a turning point in regards to law enforcement in the black community as well as equality for everyone. 

 DuVernay has let the cat out of the bag and I would hope through her and others that change will come….as it is long over due.