Unpacking ”When They See Us”

As of now, I’m sure you’ve both heard and seen Ava Duverney’s miniseries When They See Us on Netflix. I must admit I was apprehensive about seeing this series because of the buzz on social media saying that we’d need counselors after watching it. That didn’t exactly make me want to run and go see it. After my curiosity peaked, I hit play and I must admit I’m left with a pit. I couldn’t figure out if it was disgust, sadness, or anger but it was a heavy pit in my stomach.

Movies and stories like this, ones based on truth, ones that carry the hurt of what it means to be black in America are difficult for me to process. These were children, y’all know I’m crazy about the children.

Seeing the juxtaposition of the Trump clip and ad and knowing that this man is “leading” our country…it’s disgusting! Still manipulating, still endangering, still unapologetic for stupidity…it’s disgusting!

The manipulation of the minds of black and Latino people. The stripping of their futures. The injustice. The time lost. The dreams destroyed. The families broken. That was my pit.

We need our stories to be told. We need to continue to learn from history so that our today’s can be strengthened.  Stories like this catapult careers and callings. They ignite the spark that builds the flames of purpose. I know it did for me. Protect our youth thumped with every one of my heartbeats.

1. Our young people need to learn the law. I feel people take advantage of others lack of knowledge. Our children should know their rights. Our children are not taught their human rights in the present sense. Do they know how to interact with the police or have they been trained to fear the police?

2. We have to protect our families. Do you have a family lawyer to call on in times of need? Do you know the criterion for hiring one? How about what to do when you can’t afford a lawyer?

3. Acknowledging our own shortcomings is also necessary for growth. I’m including myself because I’m learning every day as well. I want to be equipped and I want my children equipped. This story for me was a prime example of controlling the narrative.

4. Write our own stories, take back the pen, be responsible in words for our present and future. Black people have a history of storytelling. That was how stories and traditions were passed down from generation to generation. Our current cultures need stories too it brings the past to life and makes it more relevant for comprehension, wisdom, and understanding. Stories are powerful tools.

5. This is a loving reminder of the power of a unified voice. The prosecutor Elizabeth Ledbetter recently resigned her position at Columbia University, and Linda Fairstein got dropped by her publisher amongst everybody else. It may not happen immediately but we create change by holding people accountable for their wrongdoings.

6. Parents can carry generational curses. In their best efforts to protect some parents can avert the best in their children as we saw with Antron’s father. He didn’t carry the knowledge of how to interact with the police nor his rights because he too had been jailed, and I believe that fear permeated him so much that he released it straight to his son and it changed the trajectory of his son’s life forever. That’s’ a burden that will never go away for both parties involved.

7. Tell your truth. Take back your pen. Get equipped. Protect black and Latino youth. Teach them, train them, and take them under your wing and guide them.

This movie was enlightening and I’m glad I had an opportunity to watch it but remember it’s not just a movie these are people’s lives walking around us each and every day. When we see a stranger in the store we don’t know who we are amongst. We don’t know what baggage their carrying or obstacle they are overcoming. Take time to be kind, learn people, edify them with your words and equip yourself to be available to assist and lead.

P.S. Thank you Ava.

Question: Did you see the series? What’d you think?

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