Bringing Down the New Jim Crow

A Radio Documentary Series

Inspired by Michelle Alexander's groundbreaking book The New Jim Crow, this series of radio documentaries explores and gives voice to the continuing struggle for racial justice in the United States, during the era of mass incarceration.

A New Way of Life and the New Underground Railroad

Michelle Alexander, author of The New Jim Crow, points to A New Way of Life Re-Entry Program in South Los Angeles as a model for the kind of bold initiative needed to build what she calls a "new underground railroad" -- a network of families, faith communities, and organizations dedicated to providing desperately needed support and love to those newly released from prison. This 29-minute radio documentary weaves together the voices of Michelle Alexander, Susan Burton (founder of A New Way of Life), and five residents of this remarkable re-entry program for women, showing the human face of those our society stigmatizes as "criminals" and illustrating the essential role of the emerging "new underground railroad" within the growing movement to dismantle the U.S. system of mass incarceration. DOWNLOAD OPTION

Children of the Same Sorrow: The U.S./Mexico Caravan for Peace Takes On the Drug War

This moving and provocative documentary chronicles the historic journey of the “U.S./Mexico Caravan for Peace,” which from August 12th to September 12th, 2012, crossed the entire United States calling for an end to the war on drugs and bearing witness to the human rights nightmare unfolding in Mexico. Radio documentarian Chris Moore-Backman travelled with the caravan for 5 days, capturing the spirit and message of those on board, and examining the deep connection between the struggle for peace in Mexico and the struggle to end the racist system of mass incarceration in the United States. The show features a dialog between Michelle Alexander (author of "The New Jim Crow") and Javier Sicilia (renowned Mexican poet and leader of the "Mexican Movement for Peace, with Justice and Dignity"). It also includes heartbreaking testimonies of mothers of victims of Mexico’s horrific drug war violence, and interviews with the U.S. and Mexican activists who launched this historic bi-national effort. A powerful testament to twin justice movements, which points to the crucial need for movement unity across races, and across borders. DOWNLOAD OPTION

On the Other Side of the Myth: A Conversation with Michelle Alexander and Tim Wise

This second installment in the series titled Bringing Down the New Jim Crow features the first ever dialog between legal scholar Michelle Alexander and anti-racism educator Tim Wise. An engaging, provocative interchange touching on the prison-industrial complex, white privilege, Trayvon Martin, and the unceasing quest for racial justice in the United States. Produced by Chris Moore-Backman, with music by Joe Henry. DOWNLOAD OPTION

A Bitter Harvest: California, Marijuana, and the New Jim Crow

This documentary views Michelle Alexander's "The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness" through the lens of California's marijuana industry. Marijuana is the single largest agricultural commodity in California and it is the primary vehicle for the war on drugs' racialized arrest and incarceration system, which has our prisons bursting at the seams nationwide. Great numbers of predominantly white men and women grow, harvest, and process marijuana in California for distribution throughout the United States. Local law enforcement and the communities they represent - communities whose economies are marijuana-dependent - benefit from letting this part of the illegal process go mostly undetected, while the crackdown happens almost exclusively in poor inner-city neighborhoods of color. Through interviews with Michelle Alexander, Stephen Gutwillig (Drug Policy Alliance), and Vincent Harding (renowned veteran of the African-American Freedom Movement), this program cracks open the question of why and how this discrepancy exists, and it explores some of its devastating consequences. It's a show that grapples head on with the reality of white privilege in the United States. DOWNLOAD OPTION

© 2013 Chris Moore-Backman
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