Ava DuVernay has long been on the frontlines, teaching moviegoers about the perils of the prison industrial complex through documentaries and docuseries such as 13th and When They See Us. It’s clear the director has dedicated her career to amplifying Black issues, and she continues to keep her foot on the gas.
DuVernay’s latest project will finance new stories about police brutality through her latest initiative, the Law Enforcement Accountability Project. LEAP aims to hold police officers accountable, whether or not they have been charged for their crimes.
LEAP will fund 25 projects over the next two years, spanning from movies, theater, photography, music, poetry, dance, and sculpture, according to The Washington Post. Kicking off with a $3 million budget, backed by the Ford Foundation and producer Ryan Murphy, LEAP’s mission is to “disrupt the code of silence that exists around police aggression and misconduct,” according to its website.
Like so many of us, Duvernay is tired of cops who kill Black people and then roam free without any repercussions. Their names aren’t even in many headlines, compared to the hashtags that continue to go viral once a Black person is killed at their hands.
“I’m used to watching racist, violent images,” DuVernay said. “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.”
She continued, “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.”
LEAP’s first project is slated to go live in August.