Too often, police drug raids in low-income communities across the county sweep up innocent people. Once in the system, it can become nearly impossible for these folks to prove their innocence. They lose their freedom; their families are broken; and the true story is rarely told.
American Violet is a new award-winning film opening in your area today that can help shine a light on the problem. By going to see the movie, you can help it get more exposure–it will run longer in theaters if it does well at first.
If you’re able to see the film, please let us know what you thought by emailing us at email@example.com.
American Violet tells the amazing story of a young, single mother swept up in an unjust, out-of-control drug raid that targets the Black community in a small town in Texas. The film is based on true events and it examines how our country’s drug laws and enforcement practices target African-Americans, and how the justice system uses threats and intimidation to steer people towards guilty pleas, regardless of their innocence or the evidence against them.
The film is inspired by the real life story of Regina Kelly, an African-American, single mother of four girls who was arrested in 2000 in a military-style drug raid. The raid resulted in the arrest of nearly 15% of the town’s young Black male population for felony cocaine distribution. Kelly was innocent. Her name, along with the names of many others arrested (nearly all African-American), were given to police by a single, highly unreliable informant with personal reasons to antagonize her. Despite Kelly’s innocence, she was urged to plead guilty by her family and even her public defender so that she could return to her children and receive a minimal sentence. A felony conviction, however, would have resulted in the loss of her right to vote and the public assistance programs on which her family depended, not to mention the tainting of her personal reputation and her ability to obtain employment. She chose to maintain her plea of not guilty. American Violet tells the story of her fight for justice.
Please consider supporting this film, and please forward this email to friends and family to spread the word!
Thanks and Peace,
— James, Gabriel, Clarissa, William, Dani, and the rest of the ColorOfChange.org team
April 17th, 2009
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