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The event will take place on April 21st at 8PM EST. RSVP HERE to receive details on how to watch live over YouTube or Facebook.

America’s Misdemeanor Problem exposes how our country’s history of racial injustice evolved into an enormous abuse of criminal justice power. 13 million people a year – most of them poor and people of color – are abused by this system.

Through first-person accounts of those charged under the Black Codes of the Reconstruction era paralleled with the outrageous stories of people trapped in the system today, the film brings to light the unfolding of a powerful engine of profits and racial inequality. With the emergence of the Black Lives Matter movement, this film provides historical context and examines America’s history of racist oppression.


The primary inspiration for this documentary comes from Alexandra Natapoff’s book, “Punishment Without Crime,” which offers an urgent new interpretation of inequality and injustice in America by examining the paradigmatic American offense: the lowly misdemeanor. Based on extensive original research, legal scholar Alexandra Natapoff reveals the inner workings of a massive petty offense system that produces over 13 million cases each year. People arrested for minor crimes are swept through courts where defendants often lack lawyers, judges process cases in mere minutes, and nearly everyone pleads guilty. This misdemeanor machine starts punishing people long before they are convicted; it punishes the innocent; and it punishes conduct that never should have been a crime. As a result, vast numbers of Americans–most of them poor and people of color–are stigmatized as criminals, impoverished through fines and fees, and stripped of drivers’ licenses, jobs, and housing.

The Formerly Incarcerated Convicted People & Families Movement along with Brave New Films is inviting you to a virtual screening of the new short documentary, Racially Charged: America’s Misdemeanor Problem. Narrated by actor Mahershala Ali, the film was inspired by Harvard Law Professor Alexandra Natapoff’s book Punishment without Crime and explores the history behind our broken criminal legal system which charges 13 million Americans a year, mostly poor black and brown, with Misdemeanors. Following the 35-minute film viewing, we’ll hear from the president of Brave New Films, Robert Greenwald; father and musician, Chris Lollie (featured in the film), DeAnna Hoskins, President JLUSA, Ben Crump, Trial lawyer for Justice, Talitha L. LeFlouria, Assoc. Professor University of Virginia, and David Ayala, National Organizer, FICPFM.

The event will take place on April 21st at 8PM EST. RSVP HERE to receive details on how to watch live over YouTube or Facebook.

Source: Misdemeanor Film


IBW21 (The Institute of the Black World 21st Century) is committed to enhancing the capacity of Black communities in the U.S. and globally to achieve cultural, social, economic and political equality and an enhanced quality of life for all marginalized people.