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Tag Archives: social justice

Corey Williams is the kind of person who makes you want to root for him. Sincere, honest and open, he’s a hard worker and a man of few words.  And 20 years ago he was sent to death row after a house party ended in the murder of a pizza delivery man.  Corey was a mere child of 16, a victim of poverty and intellectually disabled.  He was living in Caddo Parish, Louisiana, notorious for its tough-on-crime approach to justice where African American teens were labeled “super predators.”  In short, Corey never had a chance.  And yet, details of the case didn’t add up. Read More

NYWIFT Presents “2019 NYWIFT Summit: Inclusion, Equality and Safety” at the Ford Foundation for Social Justice

Sexual Harassment Panel: Jericka Duncan, Correspondent, CBS News; Amber Tamblyn, Author, Actress, Director, TIME’S UP founder; and Leslie Silva, Actress, Photographer, TIME’S UP founder. (Not pictured: Sharyn Tejani, Director, TIME’S UP Legal Defense Fund)

For the past few months, I’ve been working with NYWIFT to organize our first annual Summit for Inclusion, Equality and Safety.  Check out the press release about the June 27th event below! (all photos by John Dallas Phelps) Read More

Death Row Stories explores the fallibility of the ultimate criminal penalty, capital punishment. Told by current and former death row inmates, each episode of Death Row Stories seeks to unravel the truth behind a different capital murder case and poses tough questions about the U.S. capital punishment system. Sundays at 8pm, ET/PT on HLN.  My episode “Body of Evidence” premieres June 30.

I directed two episodes of the series for Jigsaw Productions. This was my first foray into the true crime genre, which I’ve been following as a growing phenomenon over the past few years.  Studies show that women consume the most media about true crime.  There are many theories about why: whether it’s escapism or it’s a way to interact with our worst fears, many people are looking for reasons to why bad things happen. Death Row Stories premiered in 2014, and has since been at the forefront of true crime’s popularity exploring capital punishment in a way that’s more palatable for people who might not think they’re interested in social justice issues.

On the set of “Death Row Stories” for CNN.

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Death Row Stories, Bari Pearlman and Keith Davis. Photo credit – Bethany Dettmore.

I have been dying to write a blog about the growing demand for True Crime stories. From Serial, to The Jinx, to Making of a Murderer, nearly every outlet has an episodic investigative series. And now my friend Bari Pearlman and I have organized a panel discussion dedicated to the genre!  Bari, who has directed and produced two episodes of CNN Death Row Stories, will be joined by Kelly Laudenberg, creator of the Netflix series The Confession Tapes, and Stephanie Steele VP of current Production for Oxygen Media for an in-depth conversation about making crime stories that matter.  The panel will be moderated by journalist Andrea Marks. For more information about True Crime Stories: Relationships and Responsibilities on Wednesday Oct 25, 2017 at the Tribeca Film Center and to register, click here.    *This Q&A is published simultaneously on Huffington Post. Read More

I Am Not Your Negro – Review

James Baldwin, Associated Press.

James Baldwin, Associated Press.

The Oscar-nominated “I Am Not Your Negro” is a piercing film about writer, poet, and social critic James Baldwin. He was one of our most critical advocates for equality, and his work holds an essential place in the canon of American literature. The film finds its structure from Baldwin’s own words. Read by Samuel Jackson in the most understated performance of his career, those words have a renewed relevance today.  Back-to-back shows have run at the Film Forum this month. It’s one of the most important films you’ll see all year. Read More

“Try to live your life in a way that you will not regret years of useless virtue and inertia and timidity.

Take up the battle.

Take it up.

It’s yours.

This is your life.  This is your world.

I’ll be leaving it long before you under the ordinary set of circumstances. You make your own choices. You can decide life isn’t worth living, and that would be the worst thing you can do. How do you know, so far?

Try it. See.

So pick it up. Pick up the battle, and make it a better world.

Just where you are.

Yes, and it can be better, and it must be better, but it is up to us.”

–Thank you, Dr Angelou.

“Maya Angelou” Oprah Presents Master Class. OWN, 2011.