On December 3, Ragtag offers a free community screening of Ava DuVernay's extraordinary, galvanizing documentary 13th. Its title refers to the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which reads, "Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States." The progression from that second qualifying clause to the horrors of mass criminalization and the sprawling American prison industry is laid out by DuVernay with bracing lucidity. With a potent mixture of archival footage and testimony from a dazzling array of activists, politicians, historians, and formerly incarcerated women and men, DuVernay creates a work of grand historical synthesis.
Following the screening, we will host a conversation facilitated by Columbia resident Mataka Askari, who was released from prison this past August following a 23-year sentence for a non-violent drug crime. During the conversation, Askari will offer more context about the prison industry in Missouri and discuss how to fix the system. This screening is co-presented with KOPN With Reality, a community radio show that airs on 89.5 KOPN.