When They See Us: What You Can Do About Mass Incarceration

Photo: Courtesy of Netflix.
With a reported 23 million accounts having seen When They See Us, the Ava DuVernay-directed Netflix series about the Central Park Five has already made an impact, causing former prosecutors Linda Fairstein and Elizabeth Lederer to face widespread public scrutiny and step down from their current positions of power.
But our collective focus on the condemnation of these two women should not alleviate us or distract us from actually addressing the systemic issues enabling racism in our criminal justice system.
When They See Us does a powerful and searing job of showing all the different bars that make up the cage of mass incarceration. And these same bars are still in place today. There are boys just like Yusef, Kevin, Antron, Korey, and Raymond facing the same system as the exonerated five.
Ahead, we’ve picked out some key moments from the series that illustrate these elements, and paired them with tangible steps of education and action.
Christie Marchese is the CEO and founder of Picture Motion. Lillie Fleshler is the impact distribution coordinator of Picture Motion. The views expressed here are their own.

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