Filmmaker Ava DuVernay graced the stage at Saturday’s (May 20) Peabody Awards ceremony to accept a statuette for “13th,” her documentary exploration of mass incarceration’s roots in slavery and the 13th Amendment. Entertainment Weekly transcribed her powerful speech, which includes this excerpt on why ending racist policing and incarceration policies is so important:
I just want to dedicate this tonight to the people behind bars, the people who are behind bars and the people who are waiting for them: the mothers, the sisters, the daughters, the girlfriends, whose loved ones are in an unknown space. Imagine who you love so much right now, put them in your head, and imagine not knowing where they are, not having any sense of safety, not having any recourse to move them out of the place of jeopardy. Yes, some people have done things that put them in a circumstance where they need to be separated. So many people who are behind bars now are behind bars for reasons that are unequal, are disparate to those who are not behind bars, who are behind bars for too long for crimes that they don’t deserve to be there. And “13th” outlines this in a way that I hope that people can understand what you really are saying when you say the word “criminal.”
“13th” is available on Netflix.