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Get Informed - Watch Now

Get Informed - Watch Now

When They See Us

television miniseries created, co-written, and directed by Ava DuVernay for Netflix

Based on a true story that gripped the country, When They See Us will chronicle the notorious case of five teenagers of colour, labeled the Central Park Five, who were convicted of a rape they did not commit. The four part limited series will focus on the five teenagers from Harlem — Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana and Korey Wise. Beginning in the spring of 1989, when the teenagers were first questioned about the incident, the series will span 25 years, highlighting their exoneration in 2002 and the settlement reached with the city of New York in 2014.

Watching ‘When They See Us’ is deeply painful, emotional, heartbreaking, enraging, and it’s also important. It’s important to watch, to listen, to learn. Not only is it difficult watching this story, knowing it happened to these men (who now go by The Exonerated Five, versus The Central Park Five) almost 30 years ago - but it’s incredibly unsettling knowing that sadly the same story is happening today. One of the men, Yusef Selam shares, “The criminal justice system is so broken today, yesterday, perhaps tomorrow. But I call it the criminal system of injustice. I call it that because there’s two America’s, there’s two different justice systems that are in play, one where if you have the complexion for acceptance you get every chance to be afforded the proper defence. But if you look like me, if you have skin of darker hue, then you will be seen as being guilty and have to prove yourself innocent.”

So for those who, like us, get to live with white privilege, we urge you to watch this. The excuse ‘it’s just too sad’, will not suffice. You know why? Because those who are white or white-passing get to say that and choose whether or not to watch it, and get on with life as per usual. Whereas a person of colour does not get that choice - they live it. We need to do our part as allies, to understand and listen to the injustices folks around us are experiencing, and do our best to continually support and demand a better world, for all of us.


"Watching this is painful. But it’s necessary. It needs to be watched, because things need to be changed."
Kevin Richardson

Ava DuVernay
”Film does have the power to change things. If we keep talking about it, if we keep showing and sharing these stories, I believe that we get to a place where people will be intolerant to what is happening, and demand change.”

When They See Us is a catalyst for conversation. Ava has created something to move people and to examine how they think and act in the world. 

If you have watched When They See Us and had a major take-away or learned something, please share below in the comments!


Mid-Year Journal Prompts

Mid-Year Journal Prompts