Documentary 'Our Turn to Dream' Tells Story of New Civil Rights Movement (Video)

Human Rights

On Aug. 28, 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. took to the podium to deliver his “I Have a Dream” speech calling for an end to racism and segregation. Fifty years later, another system of oppression has taken its place: mass incarceration.

In honor of the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, Brave New Foundation's Beyond Bars campaign has created a new short documentary depicting the problem of mass incarceration, as well as the new civil rights movement rising up against it.

The documentary, titled Our Turn to Dream, begins by summarizing the policies that led to the rise of mass incarceration. These include Nixon’s declaration of the war on drugs in 1971, Reagan’s increase of mandatory minimum drug sentences in 1986, and Clinton’s “Three Strikes” law in 1994.

“Sixty-five million people in the United States now have criminal records,” Michelle Alexander, author of The New Jim Crow, says in the documentary. “And once you’ve been branded, once you acquire that record, it follows you for life.”

The documentary follows Alabama pastor Kenneth Glasgow, who is helping to catalyze a movement to push back against mass incarceration. Glasgow, who spent 14 years behind bars due to drug crimes, elaborates on Alexander’s statement:

You can’t get a Pell Grant or a student loan. You can’t get public housing or Section 8. You lose your voting rights. And then you already can’t get a job. So what it does is put you back in the scenario where you got to go back to … something you used to do. That’s hypocrisy because you pay your debt to society and you never are able to return back to full citizenship.

Glasgow, along with his son and daughter, founded The Ordinary People’s Society (TOPS), which helps recently released prisoners get on their feet and works to inspire community organizing around mass incarceration.

Watch this short film about a new movement: 

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