Destini's Brother

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When we conceived this film two years ago, we were simply trying to break through the static narratives of police violence that we saw on our televisions. We were in Durham, N.C., which in terms of racial tension felt similar to many American cities before Ferguson became a household name, and Black Lives Matter became a national movement. The city was full of organizers, families and working people who spent their evenings huddled in the backs of restaurants, barber shops and community centers, trying to shed light on issues of inequality that we felt the media consistently missed. 

We first met each other in 2014 after one of these meetings, in which community members discussed how we could pressure the police into providing better ethics training. Destini’s brother had just been sentenced to 10 years in prison, his fate suddenly tied to labels that feel ubiquitous: “young,” “black,” “male” and, as far as our community was concerned, “profiled.”

Nicholas Pilarski is a documentary fellow at Duke University, and currently working in Brownsville, Brooklyn on an interactive VR project with the Center for Court Innovation. Destini Riley is a high school senior in Durham, N.C., and an activist in the Black Lives Matter movement. Along with the film’s co-producers, they are developing a collaborative called Peoples Culture that helps communities shape their narratives through art and filmmaking.

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