Ferguson documentary sparks conversation on race

(Deron Hines spoke about the ongoing effects of the Ferguson riots. Photo by Corey McFeeley)

In response to the recent hate crimes at FSU, Brother 2 Brother (B2B) screened the documentary, “Whose Streets?” to an audience of 40 in DPAC on Jan. 25. Following the documentary, there was a discussion regarding the film and its relation to the University.

“Whose Streets?” is a documentary about the 2014 Ferguson uprising following the murder of Michael Brown, who was unarmed and shot by a police officer.

The film depicts protesters marching down a street toward a wall of police officers. Most of them have their hands raised to the sky to represent Brown, who was unarmed and had his hands raised. Suddenly, there is a blast of fog and the group sprints the other way as tear gas clouds the camera. The camera shakes as the person runs away.

Most of the film is shot through a phone camera, including interviews with protestors. They expressed their opinions on what it was like to be black in Ferguson in 2014. Most people stated the reason for protesting was to set an example for the next generation.

B2B asked questions regarding the audience’s favorite part of the film and how it relates to FSU’s social climate.

The majority of students found the movie eye-opening, especially the part of the film which showed a news interview with Darron Wilson, the police officer who shot Brown but wasn’t charged.

Zae Valera, moderator and senior, said, “He had an opportunity to explain himself and while he was trying to humanize himself, he dehumanized Mike Brown.”

Deron Hines, senior, said it shows a different side of the uprising that the media did not show and added it was the most uncomfortable part of the film.

The directors chose not to include police interviews. This was another main point of discussion.

Senior Nevi Avila said, “You could tell what [the police officers] thought by their body language.” She addressed the scene which showed a group of police officers wearing Wilson support bracelets.

Another scene showed a black police officer standing stoically in front of protestors. She remained unwavering and calm as people yelled in her face. There were tears in her eyes.

Hines showed sympathy toward that particular officer. He said she is struggling between her job and her culture. She is asking herself – whom does she follow?

Sociology Professor Ellen Zimmerman said while the documentary showed acts of protests and appeared to be very somber, she felt a level of hope as one woman near the end of the film stated, “We are raising activists.”

Avila said, “I remember watching clips from the news during that year and seeing how everyone was being portrayed as complete thugs and sort of portrayed the whole concept of black people not being able to act in a civilized manner. The documentary showed how that was a lie.”

Senior Tasia Clemons said, “This is what the campus needed.”

Hines said, “We have the chance to create a narrative. We are coming for a new start.”

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