Film director Ava DuVernay is launching a new project that will focus on calling out officers who used their position to harass and murder black people.
According to The Washington Post, The Law Enforcement Accountability Project will fund 25 projects including film, theater, photography, poetry, music, sculpture, and dance over the next two years through DuVernay’s nonprofit Array Alliance. LEAP will have an initial budget of $3 million from contributors including the Ford Foundation and screenwriter-producer Ryan Murphy.
In a statement DuVernay said even though videos showing black people in their final moments are a common thing now, the idea for LEAP was birthed when watching George Floyd’s death, it made her realize that she could clearly see the officers face.
“I’m used to watching racist, violent images,” says DuVernay. “So why did George Floyd’s final moments devastate me like it did? I realized that it was because this time the cop isn’t hidden behind a body cam or distorted by grainy surveillance video. This time, I can see the cop’s face. As a viewer, there are several times when he even looks right at me. Then I started to realize how rare that is. And that led me to think, ‘how many of these police officers do we never see?’ They disappear, end up leaving town, and show up in another department. Their names are said, but it’s never amplified and it’s kind of like this group contract. Somehow, we, as American citizens, have agreed to not speak their names. I do not agree to that anymore.”
The first project is set to be released in August.
DuVernay has dedicated her career to making sure black people’s stories get told accurately. She has directed Selma and When They See Us, a Netflix docuseries that tells the story of five young black and brown men who were wrongfully accused and sentenced in the Central Park jogger case.