Who We Are: A Chronicle of Racism in America
April 8 - 18, 2021
Interweaving lecture, personal anecdotes, interviews, and shocking revelations, ACLU deputy legal director Jeffery Robinson draws a stark timeline of anti-Black racism in the United States, from slavery to the modern myth of a post-racial America.
LIVE Q&A - April 13, 5:00pm PT
This film is available to view April 8–18. We suggest watching it on April 13 starting at 3:05pm PT followed by the live Q&A at 5:00pm PT. Emily Kunstler and Sarah Kunstler (directors), as well as Jeffery Robinson (subject) scheduled to participate.
Who We Are: A Chronicle of Racism in America features ACLU Deputy Legal Director Jeffery Robinson (who has spent much of his career in Seattle) challenging all of us to examine who we are, where we come from, and who we want to be. Anchored by Robinson’s engrossing stage presentation, the film interweaves historical and present-day archival footage, Robinson’s personal story, and vérité and interview footage capturing Robinson’s meetings with Black changemakers and eyewitnesses to history. From a hanging tree in Charleston, South Carolina, to a walking tour of the origins of slavery in colonial New York, to the site of a 1947 lynching in rural Alabama, the film brings history to life, exploring the enduring legacy of white supremacy and our collective responsibility to overcome it. Robinson shows how legalized discrimination and state-sanctioned brutality, murder, dispossession, and disenfranchisement continued long after slavery ended, profoundly impeding Black Americans’ ability to create and accumulate wealth as well as to gain access to jobs, housing, education, and healthcare. Weaving heartbreak, humor, passion, and rage, Robinson’s words lay bare an all-but-forgotten past, as well as our shared responsibility to create a better country in our lifetimes. That the film achieves all the above in under two hours is a testament to Robinson’s commanding knowledge of the history and co-directors Emily and Sarah Kunstler’s commitment to amplifying Robinson’s words with efficient and significant visual storytelling.
Emily Kunstler was a video producer for Democracy Now!, an independent national television and radio news program, and a studio art fellow with the Independent Study Program of the Whitney Museum of American Art. She is also a co-founder of the Kent State Truth Tribunal. In 2000, along with her sister, Sarah, Emily co-founded Off Center Media, a production company that produces documentaries exposing injustice in the criminal justice system. Off Center Media films have contributed to campaigns to stay executions, convince decision makers to reopen cases, and exonerate the wrongfully convicted. In 2009, the sisters completed William Kunstler: Disturbing The Universe, an award-winning feature documentary, which premiered at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival, was short-listed for the Best Documentary Oscar, and opened the 2010 season of POV on PBS.
Sarah Kunstler is a federal criminal defense attorney practicing in the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York. Together with her sister, Emily, she is a co-founder of Off Center Media, and one of the directors of William Kunstler: Disturbing The Universe (2009).
- Director: Emily Kunstler, Sarah Kunstler
- Principal Cast: Featuring: Jeffery Robinson, Gwen Carr, Dr. Tiffany Crutcher, Carolyn Payne, Josephine Bolling McCall, Commissioner Tami Sawyer
- Premiere Status: Seattle
- Country: USA
- Year: 2021
- Running Time: 117 minutes
- Producer: Jeffery Robinson, Sarah Kunstler, Emily Kunstler
- Screenplay: Jeffery Robinson
- Cinematographers: Jesse Wakeman
- Editors: Emily Kunstler
- Music: Kathryn Bostic
- Website: Official Film Website
- Awards: SXSW 2021: Audience Award (Documentary Spotlight)
- Filmography: William Kunstler: Disturbing the Universe (2009)
- Language: English