Four short films titled “Healing Thru Freedom” were created to document Black experiences in America’s modern criminal justice system, according to the Dayton (Ohio) Daily News.
The films were financed by grants from the Pretrial Justice Institute, a national organization that promotes safe, fair and effective juvenile and adult pretrial justice practices.
“(The Pretrial Justice Institute) was really interested in building relationships with artists to help move culture forward to ask what we believe in our community and how that impacts the kind of political decisions that we make,” said Leroy Bean, who made one of the four films.
Bean commented that the filmmakers had the choice of “educating people on the history and where we’re at now with it or re-imagining what it could look like, such as alternatives to police and things like that.”
The other creators were Mariah Johnson, Dionte Allen and Brie Hope.
Bean filmed an abstract reenactment of Kalief Browder’s story. Browder was a young Black man held in Rikers Island jail without trial from 2010 to 2013. He was charged with stealing a backpack containing valuables. Two years after his release, Browder committed suicide, the News said.
Allen created a satirical analysis of the word “semantics” and how, throughout history, that word was used to criminalize Black people. Johnson turned to her family and their experience with the justice system to create her short film. Hope created a short animated film, “Alternatives to Police,” that re-imagined the justice system.
Bean said, “I want them to really walk away with how they authentically feel.
I really want people to be present enough to receive all of the things they might feel that come with this project, whether it be from a personal experience, or just really being opened up to something new to understand that we are all human.
“I feel like we’re in a phase of rehabilitating humanity and getting down to the real value of what life looks like. It is such a collective struggle, and it has to do with all of us. The films really highlight the high- lights and reveal the issues of what our society really looks like, how we operate and how deep the