I am a fan of independent movies. I like to choose them at random, based on the brief description provided and let the magic unfold. What I love about independent movies is they often tell stories that you may otherwise not hear about. This weekend I chose American Violet. Since I watched the movie I have not been able to get the story out of my head.
American Violet takes place in a town in Texas where drugs are the name of the game. By game, I mean the justice system or lack there of. The main character is a 24 year old single mother who finds herself wrongly accused of dealing drugs and locked up for 21 days as a result. What unfolds is a story of a corrupt District Attorney who uses federal funds to form a drug task force and round up those living in the projects with helicopters and SWAT. You learn the local government receives money from the feds for convictions and they do not care how they acquire the convictions. You might be asking when this story takes place….perhaps the most haunting fact of all is the date, 2000. American Violet is based on a true story. This really did happen. I am not naive enough to say I place full faith in our justice system. I am well aware that more black and brown men are in prison. I understand that our system is broken. I think what appalled me the most, was the extent to which our system is broken. How someone so corrupt and motivated by racial discrimination was voted into power and continues to be voted into power boggles my mind.
I am thankful this story was put into film. There are many ways to start conversations and bring about change. Capturing stories and sharing them with the larger public through media formats is one such way. All I can think about after watching this movie is, America Wake Up! We have so much farther to go to achieve a society truly built on equality.
This is a movie worth watching. A story worth talking about.