|Film series to show "The Trials of Daryl Hunt"|
|Written by Tim Wrona, Daily Vidette Reporter|
|Monday, 16 February 2009 18:00|
On Wednesday, Feb. 18, the Social Justice Project Film Series will hold a screening of the documentary "The Trials of Daryl Hunt" at Capen Auditorium at 7 p.m.
The film tells the story of Daryl Hunt, an African American man who was wrongfully charged, convicted and imprisoned for murder and sentenced to death. According to HBO.com, the film "examines a community and criminal justice system subject to racial bias and tainted by fear."
The Social Justice Project is a group that focuses on issues within the science of criminal justice. The film series was taken as a new way to help educate students and the public.
The film series is in its second semester under the advisement of Dr. Dawn Beichner, assistant professor in criminal justice science. The film series is part of the project's attempts to create a community dialogue concerning social justice issues.
"[The Social Justice Series] handles all kinds of justice issues," Beichner said. "What we're trying to do with the film series is select out contemporary social justice issues, which we would like to bring out to the ISU and Bloomington-Normal community."
"With 'The Trial of Daryl Hunt' we're creating a dialogue about some of the race discrimination that happens in the criminal justice system. We are also creating a conversation about wrongful convictions and some of the racial disproportionalities that exist in the application of the death penalty in this country."
After being charged in 1984, Daryl Hunt was convicted of murder by a jury of 11 whites based largely on the eyewitness testimony of a former Ku Klux Klan member. It wasn't until 2004 that he was cleared of the charges.
"This particular film is one that really gives us a great look at how biased the justice process can be in certain situations," Beichner said. "It also gives us a chance to look at a number of different issues which are wrapped up in wrongful convictions in this country."
A discussion follows each screening within the film series as Beichner and members of the Social Justice Project look to issues brought up in each film with members of the audience.
"After each film we try to engage the attendees in the social justice issues that are presented that week," Beichner said. "There have been instances that we have been able to, through discussion, achieve social justice within the context."
Each film offers a unique perspective on social justice issues, said Brittany Schwien, a junior criminal justice major, who first heard about the Film Series through Dr. Beichner.
"I believe all of the films we show do have some kind of message and are very interesting," Shwien said. "I would love to see more people becoming aware of the things that you get to learn about through theses films."
Over the course of the semester, the Social Justice Project Film Series will hold screenings of several documentaries including "Who Killed the Electric Car?" and "Bowling for Columbine" in an effort to create a dialogue about contemporary social justice issues. Each screening will take place on Wednesdays at 7 p.m.