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Filmmaker Ava DuVernay's LEAP Initiative to Amplify Voices Against Police Brutality

As one of Hollywood's most talked-about filmmakers watched the video of George Floyd's killing at the hands of Minneapolis police and heard calls for social justice and police reform grow louder, she needed a way to get involved. 
"For me, as an alpha personality, I had to do something," Ava DuVernay told Cheddar.
Her newest project is not a film, but a fund that will empower artists to create relevant works that keep alive the conversation about the over-policing of Black Americans, equality, and accountability for negligent officers. 
"The idea that we can shine a light on these cases through our art, through our storytelling across multiple disciplines is what LEAP is," DuVernay told Cheddar regarding the Law Enforcement Accountability Project.
An important component of the filmmaker's project is being able to garner a new perspective when it comes to police killings of Black Americans. Following a tragic shooting, the story is often told from "the view of police," said DuVernay, but LEAP aims to expose the other side by lending a voice to those who typically go unheard.
One of those voices the filmmaker noted was that of Breonna Taylor, who was asleep in bed when she was shot and killed by Louisville, Kentucky police carrying out a no-knock warrant.
"The story of her police report was blank. It said nothing happened here. Literally whole parts of the report not filled out," she said. Without pushback from the community to learn more about the circumstances surrounding Taylor's death, DuVernay said the story as reported by police would have been the story of record.
"One point of view has been centered far too often," DuVernay added. " It's important that we challenge the storytelling and that can only happen when we change who the storytellers are."
DuVernay has long worked to change the narrative and to tell the story of disenfranchised Blacks through works including the Netflix documentary 13th. The documentary explores the American prison system and "criminalization of Black people" in a way that she hopes audiences from all backgrounds can understand and learn from.
"Hopefully people who believe in justice and dignity for all - and I believe that's a lot of people but just don't know how to navigate that in their understanding - can invest 100 minutes and watch that," she said.
A major topic discussed in the documentary was the process of policing, which protesters and critics today are citing as being flawed. President Donald Trump signed an executive order Tuesday on police reform, although DuVernay saw the move as nothing more than a political play.
"I take in noting that he does. I believe nothing that he says," she said of the president.
Still, the fight for change is unwavering and one that DuVernay says everyone should take part in. 
"The power lies in the people. The power lies in our ideas and the execution of our ideas."
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