Black Lives Matter

Whose Streets?
Documentary Whose Streets? is based on the demonstrations in Ferguson following the murder of Michael Brown in 2014, as well as the belief that we have the right to protest against injustice.


The right to own and carry weapons has always been rooted in American culture and tradition. This is also one of the reasons why, unlike major parts of Europe, police in the United States are always armed. The result is that hundreds of civilians are killed annually by police in the United States; an average of three civilians died every day. In several surveys, it is claimed that unarmed African Americans are more than twice as likely to be subject to such police killings as their white nationals are.

Killed at Michael Brown. Documentary Whose Streets? based on the rebellion and subsequent demonstrations in Ferguson in the wake of the murder of Michael Brown. The 18 year-old was shot by police officer Darren Wilson on the 9. August 2014. Wilson claimed he acted in self-defense when Brown had tried to take his weapon. A witness, on the other hand, claimed that Brown had kept his hands on the weather, but that he
was well shot. The circumstances were unclear, but Ferguson's residents had had enough: the shooting of Brown was not an isolated case. Twelve shots hit Brown, the last two in the head. There were strong reactions that the policeman immediately chose to shoot Brown rather than try to put him in the ground. After the boy was shot, he lay on the tarmac in the hot sun for several hours.

The beginning of a movement. This murder was the starting point for a number of riots and demonstrations called "Ferguson Uprising", and this is where this documentary starts. A central theme is how the protesters used social media in connection with the protests, eventually evolving into a national and international movement. They demonstrated against repeated police discrimination against Black Americans. Keywords like "Black Lives Matter", "Hands up, don't shoot" and "No Justice, No Peace" went on the homemade posters. "Black Lives Matter" first emerged as a topic romp in social media following the killing of unarmed African-American 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in 2012. It became known as a national movement following the events in Ferguson.
In November 2014, three months after Brown was shot, police officer Darren Wilson was acquitted by the grand jury despite all the protests. This led to further protests and demonstrations. In March 2015, Ferguson's police department was investigated by the FBI, and it emerged that they were guilty of repeated major constitutional violations.

Several hundred civilians are killed annually by police in the United States; on average three died every day.

Stereotypical images. Documentary Whose Streets? has toured various festivals in the US, including the Sundance Film Festival, and was also shown at Oslo Pix in June. It is the debut film of director Sabaah Folayan, who himself grew up in a divided environment in Los Angeles. The single mother got Sabaah into an elite school while living in a black community, and thus Folayan experienced the oppressive system up close, in addition to the duality of the community. When she heard about the murder of Michael Brown and the subsequent demonstrations, she left New York and the medical studies for making this documentary. She says one of the goals of the film was to show that the murder of Brown is a typical example of how the media image humanizes whites while creating a more stereotypical image of black people. Although Michael Brown was about to start college and was well regarded in the community around him, the police immediately saw him only as a bully and a criminal. Folayan directed the film with Damon Davis, who lives and works as an artist in St. Louis, Missouri.
The documentary consists of alternations between handheld cameras, interviews, clips filmed by both the directors and by various witnesses, as well as footage from the news. Through the documentary, we follow some of the Ferguson protesters at home and in the demonstrations against the police. The events following the killing are portrayed through the protesters' perspective, and we get an insight into how they experience it when massive military and police forces invade the streets of Ferguson. With Whose Streets? directors Folayan and Davis wanted to give a different picture of the situation in Ferguson than what emerged in the media. Much of the media coverage focused on the looting of the convenience stores in Ferguson, at the expense of the National Guard's invasion of the streets and police repression of locals.

The murder of Michael Brown and the demonstrations in Ferguson are set in a historical context, dating back to the slave era.

No Justice, No Peace. In the documentary we meet, among others, Brittany, a nurse and mother of 25 years. We meet David's stepchild, who takes on the role of "Cop Watch," and we meet activist Kayla. What they have in common is the dedication to unity and the fight for justice – and the right to live. And the belief that in a democracy one should be able to protest against injustice. They are also committed to raising their children as activists, so that the descendants will have a better and more just society than they themselves grew up in. The activist tools are passed on to the next generation. This indicates that today's situation is not an immediate solution. Instead, this is a long struggle that will continue, even after the death of today's protesters, and which their children will also experience. These people are fighting for what they believe in, for the future of their children. That is why ordinary people like Brittany and Mike stand unarmed, with their hands on the weather, in the front line. A red laser dot hovers over their chest, from machine guns to fully armored and camouflage-clad forces from the National Guard.
Whose Streets? consists of five loosely composed parts, each of which begins with a quote from well-known African American leaders and freedom fighters such as Martin Luther King and Frantz Fanon. This move helps put the struggle and demonstrations following the murder of Michael Brown in Ferguson into a larger historical context, as part of the ever-ongoing fight against racism that can be traced back to the slave era. The film is also an important reminder of the need to keep Ferguson's solidarity and energy equal. Furthermore, this is a very relevant documentary in that it points to the production of news in the media; how these are always based on choices, angles, and specific presentations – and that this can also contribute to the sustained oppression of African Americans in the United States.

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