For over three decades, attorney (and now ACLU Deputy Legal Director) Jeffery Robinson has devoted his career to racial justice. In recent years, he has travelled the country speaking hard truths about race in America. “Our history,” he tells audiences, “has been stolen from us.” Weaving heartbreak, humor, passion, and rage, Robinson takes us through this stolen history, showing us how the legacy of slavery and U.S. imperialism impacts every aspect of imperialism impacts our society.
The history Robinson imparts is not easy. It is not comfortable. But it is necessary. In the end, Robinson’s words are a call to arms. He empowers his audience to change the future, leaving them with a sense of optimism about what America could look like if we have the courage to change it.
On June 19, 2018, Jeffery Robinson brought his renowned talk on the history of racism to the New York stage at the historic Town Hall theater. The live performance of Who We Are, together with behind-the scenes footage, interviews with project participants, and other presentations by Jeffery Robinson, will form the basis of a feature-length documentary. Shorter segments of the history Robinson shares will be made available online, paired with educational resources and curricula that can be used in classrooms around the country and world.
It’s time for Americans to reckon with the true history of racial oppression in this country. In Who We Are: A Chronicle of Racism in America, Jeffery Robinson aims to help us do just that. From the historical connection of slave patrols to local police departments, through the massacres of communities of freed slaves, to the fact that the essential elements of the practice of modern day slavery continued long after the civil war, Robinson challenges us to think about where we started as a country, where we are, and where we want to end up. His words lay bare an all-but-forgotten past, as well as our shared responsibility to create a better country in our lifetimes.
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