Racially Charged America's Misdemeanor Problem - Brave New Films

Racially Charged America's Misdemeanor Problem

Each year over 13 million people in the United States – the vast majority of them being economically disenfranchised and or people of color – are caught in the misdemeanor criminal justice system. Racially Charged: America’s Misdemeanor Problem (run time: 35 min) explores how the United States’ history of racial injustice shaped the misdemeanor system and traces the real life consequences from the Reconstruction Era to today. In response to current events the film also includes information about COVID-19’s impact on imprisoned people and the deadly consequences and extreme health risks. 

Through first-person accounts of people trapped in the system today paralleled with those charged under the Black Codes of the Reconstruction era, the film brings to light the unfolding of a powerful engine of profits and racial inequality. We aim to lift voices of men and women directly affected by the misdemeanor system and with this film we’ll work to amplify their stories to educate and engage broad audiences about this issue. Narrated by two-time Academy Award winner Mahershala Ali the film weaves together past and present while also showcases key analysis from a breadth of law and criminal justice experts. 

Featuring Alexandra Natapoff, Lee S. Kreindler Professor of Law at Harvard Law School; Douglas Blackmon, Professor of Practice in Georgia State University’s Creative Media Industries Institute; Khalil Gibran Muhammad, Professor of History, Race & Public Policy Harvard Kennedy School; Gaye Theresa Johnson, Associate Professor, Chicano Studies and African American Studies, UCLA; Irene Oritseweyinmi Joe, Professor at UC Davis School of Law; Paul Delano Butler, Professor at Georgetown University Law Center; and the personal stories of Faylita Hicks, Fernando Martinez, Christopher Evans, Michael Robinson, Demario Davis, Chris Lollie, and Brad Haggard.