Ava DuVernay has launched an initiative called the Law Enforcement Accountability Project (LEAP) which will focus on funding projects telling stories about police abuse of black people.
The new initiative is aimed at creating narrative change around the sensitive topic that was witnessed in the recent killing of Gorge Floyd in Minneapolis by a white cop.
According to the description on the website, LEAP is “a propulsive fund dedicated to empowering activists as they pursue narrative change around the police abuse of black people.”
The statement further states that the mission of the initiative is to disrupt the code of silence that exists around police aggression and misconduct.
LEAP was also created to elevate activist storytelling around police brutality and murder through funding such short-term projects in film, theater, photography, fine art, music, poetry, literature, sculpture, and dance.
The Washington Post reports that LEAP will fund 25 projects over the next two years. It is funded by Ava DuVernay’s non-profit Array Alliance, with an initial budget of $3 million from contributors like Ryan Murphy and the Ford Foundation.
DuVernay announced the initiative on Monday’s The Ellen DeGeneres Show, saying:
I’ve been thinking a lot about my own rage, my own emotions. When I look at George Floyd’s tape, I see my uncles, not just in a general sense, but he looks like people in my family. Literally, the facial features. So every time that video plays on CNN or anything else, I see people that I love on the ground begging for their life. So there’s a sense of those images, what we’re asking of each other, and the storytelling around these instances, the stories that we’re telling each other. That’s what I’ve been really interested in interrogating. We need to change what those stories are and change the way that we tell them. And so what we’ve come up with in a short of time is an idea that we call LEAP. It’s the Law Enforcement Accountability Project.
Why do we not know who is killing us? There are good officers. But we’ve heard many good officers speaking up over the past week saying, this was wrong and this cannot be. So what we’re trying to do through storytelling through LEAP is say, we need to start telling the stories about those who murder and about those who are not being held accountable. So this project looks at narrative storytelling across all genres — film, theater, dance, literature, poetry, sculpture, music — to start to get us to think about the fact that we have this big blindspot.
We allow officers who do harm to disappear. They move to other departments in other cities. They continue to get paid while they are under administrative review. they are free to go about their lives, faceless and nameless. And when we talk about police accountability and caring for each other, we need to be able to name those names and know who those people are.”
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