7 Organizations To Donate To If 'When They See Us' Moved You
If you're like me, Ava DuVernay's four-part mini series When They See Us is on your Netflix watch list. The series walks its audience through the wrongful convictions of five young Black and Latinx boys after they falsely confessed to a rape that happened in New York in 1990. Now, there are a number of organizations to donate to if When They See Us sparked a myriad of emotions and made you want to take action.
DuVernay's film focuses on the case that led to the wrongful conviction of the five young boys, Kevin Richardson, Antron Mccray, Raymond Santana Jr., Korey Wise, and Yusef Salaam. According to her interview with Forbes, DuVernay's own interest in the criminal justice system and its injustices helped inspire the series, but beyond that, she also wants to educate others. She tells Forbes, "I just want to shake everyone’s shoulders and say, ‘Don’t you know this is happening?’ And, if you don’t know, let me show you."
And while projects like When They See Us can be one of the best ways to learn about these events, they can sometimes trigger some uneasy feelings. First off, it's important to recognize these emotions. And if you're comfortable with it, you can also put them into action. If When They See Us moved you and you feel like you want to help inspire criminal justice reform, here are seven organizations you can donate to.
1. Innocence Project
The Innocence Project is an organization that has been working since 1992 to exonerate wrongfully-convicted people through DNA testing. The organization was heavily supportive of DuVernay's project and even gave her with the award for Freedom and Justice at their annual Celebration of Freedom and Justice gala. The organization is also a great option for those wanting to get involved, especially considering Korey Wise, one of the men who was wrongfully convicted, donated $190,000 to the University of Colorado Innocence Project. You can donate by purchasing apparel or even by giving direct one-time or monthly gifts.
2. Center On Wrongful Convictions Of Youth
Like the Innocence Project, the Center on Wrongful Convictions of Youth (CWCY) is an organization that legally represents teenagers and children who were wrongfully convicted of crimes. This Chicago-based non-profit also has ties to Netflix, as the streaming service based its docuseries Making a Murderer on work done by the organization. You can donate to the organization and help students continue to receive the proper education to fight these cases by either donating online or sending a check.
3. Youth Represent
If you're looking for a way to help youth who are facing discrimination within the criminal justice system, Youth Represent is a great option. The organization, established in 2006, provides free legal services to more than 1,000 young people a year. Along with legal services, Youth Represent also assists convicted individuals with housing, education, and general support in order to make sure they are taken care of even after imprisonment. The organization takes donations through PayPal.
4. SKIP, Inc.
SKIP, Inc. (or Saving Kids of Incarcerated Parents) is one of many organizations you can support. Since 1976, it has been helping incarcerated individuals and their families cope with a loved one's arrest. It has also been providing children of incarcerated peoples with programs and resources to guide them through at-risk situations. Donating to SKIP, Inc. through PayPal can help a child with one or more parents in jail receive the support and education they need. Their website even tells you how to start a chapter of SKIP, Inc. in your own community.
5. National Legal Aid & Defender Association
Having been around for more than 100 years, the National Legal Aid and Defender Association (NLADA) is a steadfast advocate of equal justice for all. The NLADA trains and provides tools to its members of civil legal aid attorneys and public defenders in order to ensure that no individuals have a disadvantage within the legal system just because of their economic situation. To help NLADA, you can either donate directly online, keep them in mind while shopping on AmazonSmile, or become a member of the organization yourself.
6. Prison Legal News
Prison Legal News is a magazine project created by the Human Rights Defense Center that provides extensive and informative analysis of the criminal justice system, including current news on related issues. The magazine is a great source of information as it provides details about medical care for inmates, prison labor, abuse by jail staff, and other topics. To help support Prison Legal News, you can donate directly on their website, where in return you get a free gift with more information on the criminal justice system.
Prisology is a national non-profit that is working to repair the broken criminal justice system by pushing for reform regarding housing, prison conditions, and opportunities for formerly incarcerated people. The organization is also extremely dedicated to correcting misinformation surrounding the legal system. Prisology urges others to donate either by sending money online or joining as an activist to help fight for change.
Sometimes, merely educating yourself and others about the issues you feel passionate about can be doing your part. But if that doesn't feel like it's enough, donating to these organizations could help give a voice to those who have been wrongly incarcerated.