When Creed filmmaker Ryan Coogler was 23 years old, he left the U.S. for the first time to screen a film in Paris. That career-altering moment wouldn't have been possible, Coogler says in a new video campaign for his social justice non-profit Blackout for Human Rights, if he had encountered police brutality at a young age.
"[My career wouldn't] have been possible if, when I was 12 years old ... [I] was shot and killed by police on the spot, before I even had a chance to put my hands up, like Tamir Rice," Coogler says in the video, titled "My Life Matters."
The video, published last night via BuzzFeed Entertainment, is just one in a series of short autobiographical films created by prominent black actors and filmmakers to keep the memory of police brutality victims alive. They were released in conjunction with The Movement for Black Lives' July 21 day of collective action, an international effort to combat police brutality and over-policing through hyper-local demonstrations and protests.
Events were held in Washington, Kentucky, Philadelphia, Missouri, Massachusetts, Wisconsin, Kansas, Alabama, and New York.
In one clip, Ava DuVernay (Selma, Queen Sugar)—an outspoken activist against mass incarceration and over-policing—pays a tribute to Tanisha Anderson, the 37-year-old tazed by cops and left to die. In another, David Oyelowo (Selma) honors Freddie Gray Jr., the Baltimore man who suffered a fatal spinal injury while in police custody.