10 Takeaways from ‘When They See Us’

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By Jayla Johnson

If you are looking for a good Netflix suggestion, When They See Us is definitely the right move to make. This series was an eye opener and great educational piece. This is a story full of upset, failure with the legal system, and racial profiling of minorities.

When They See Us tells the story of the trial of five teenagers: four black, one hispanic in New York referred to as the Central Park Five. Based on a true story, the Central Park Five were racially profiled and coerced by police and falsely convicted of rape in 1990. This four-episode series also shows the lasting effects and outcome of the men from the moment they were convicted into adulthood.

As I saw this movie, it frustrated me. Most of my frustration was with the police, but some of it developed from watching the parents’ decisions in the situation. As the young men were on trial, very few of the adults in their life knew the legal rights of the children. Some of the adults actually allowed themselves to manipulated to the point of where they coerced their children as well.

It seemed as if the children were failed time after time to the extent where I almost shedded tears. No person wants to have this feeling.

Another portion that put the icing of my cake of frustration was the audacity of Donald Trump to give his opinion of the trial. He was bold enough to give his suggestion for the “proper punishment” of the Central Park Five.

In all, this series gave me some of the most important lessons and reminders I could ever take away.

  1. This legal system is not for US [minorities]. You have to fight it at all costs.
  2. Know your rights and the rights of your children.
  3. You know your child.
  4. Document any and everything in a legal battle until you receive legal help. It’s great to be your own lawyer until an official one can step in.
  5. We don’t want to teach our kids at a young age, but teach them the reality of police encounters as a minority. Help them know their rights as you learn them too.
  6. Patience is the best gift anyone can have.
  7. Know your community resources to help you with ANYTHING. Whether it’s legal troubles or not.
  8. Become active in your community. Don’t wait until situations happen to educate yourself.
  9. Remind yourself of the main goal. It keeps you motivated in the dark times.
  10. THIS LEGAL SYSTEM IS NOT FOR US. YOU HAVE TO FIGHT IT AT ALL COSTS.
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