Filmmaker Ava DuVernay is urging writers, dancers, poets and other artists to help make the names of abusive police officers as well known as their victims.
Media company ARRAY, founded by DuVernay, has launched the Law Enforcement Accountability Project (LEAP) to support works of art that tell stories about police violence, an issue that gained renewed attention following the killing of African-American George Floyd when a US police officer held his knee on his neck for close to nine minutes.
DuVernay, the filmmaker behind “Selma” and “13th,” said the idea grew out of frustration.
“The stories around police abuse of black people who are unarmed and should not be killed is not being well told when officers are able to just disappear into the ether,” DuVernay said in a recent interview with Reuters.
“I can … rattle off 30 names of black people who have been murdered by police on film over the last five years, but I can’t tell you who killed them and I can’t tell you where those people are,” she said. “I think that’s unacceptable.”
The effort will commission projects from film, literature, poetry, theater, dance, fine art and music.
The first piece will be released online in August, DuVernay said, followed by one each month for at least the next two years. Activists will be encouraged to circulate the work via social media to increase visibility.
“This is an active demonstration of resistance so it will be ongoing and it will be consistent,” DuVernay said.