Activism in Film with “Who We Are: A Chronicle of Racism in America”

“Who We Are: A Chronicle of Racism in America” is a poignant and provocative documentary feature film that confronts the history of slavery and anti-Black racism in America.

Former ACLU Deputy Legal Director Jeffery Robinson had one of the best educations in America. He went to Marquette University and Harvard Law School and has been a trial lawyer for over 40 years. In 2011, Robinson began raising his then 13-year-old nephew and, as a Black man raising a Black son, struggled with what to tell his son about racism in America. After many years as a practicing lawyer, Robinson started looking at our Nation’s history and was shocked by how deeply encoded white supremacy and the oppression of Black Americans is in that history. For the past 10 years, in community centers, concert halls, houses of worship, and conference rooms across America, Robinson has been sharing what he learned. He has become a sought-after speaker, and his presentation has become legendary. On Juneteenth (June 19) 2018, Robinson brought his presentation to the New York stage, performing before a packed house at the historic Town Hall theater on Broadway.

In “Who We Are: A Chronicle of Racism in America,” Robinson faces his largest audience, asking all of us to examine who we are, where we come from, and who we want to be. Anchored by Robinson’s Town Hall performance, the film interweaves historical and present-day archival footage, Robinson’s personal story, and verité and interview footage capturing Robinson’s meetings with Black change-makers 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.

In “Who We Are: A Chronicle of Racism in America,” Jeffrey Robinson brilliantly illustrates 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 health care. 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.

“Who We Are: A Chronicle of Racism in America” was written by Jeffery Robinson and directed by Emily Kunstler and Sarah Kunstler.

On Jan. 17th, the nation honored the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. This year we ask the question, “What does Social Justice Look Like Now?” Today we explore activism in film.

Former ACLU Attorney and filmmaker, Jeffrey Robinson spoke with the Chicago Defender about the film, the importance of publications like the Chicago Defender, why the insurrection of January 6th occurred, and the continued attacks on Critical Race Theory.

“Who We Are: A Chronicle of Racism in America” is a must-see for everyone. It should be required for every student in this country. As the attack to teach accurate American history is currently underway in states across this country, anyone who wants the truth about racism in America should watch this film.

“Who We Are: A Chronicle of Racism in America” is currently in theatres now. For more information on the film and Who We Are project visit their website.

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