The Central Park Five on Stage and Screen

    The story of the Central Park Five is coming to the stage at the Long Beach Opera.

    LONG BEACH, Calif. — Even before he became president, Donald J. Trump was a character in the opera Anthony Davis was writing about racism and injustice, “The Central Park Five.” But the role grew as the piece was reworked for its premiere in June at Long Beach Opera.

    “Bring back the death penalty!” Trump, the opera character, sings in one scene. The line comes straight out of a full-page ad that Mr. Trump took out in New York newspapers in 1989, shortly after five African-American and Latino teenagers were charged in the brutal beating and rape of a jogger in Central Park.

    In the wake of breathless news coverage that stoked fears of crime and inflamed racial tensions in the city, the five men spent years in prison for the attack before another man confessed, DNA evidence backed his account, and their convictions were overturned.


    On screen, Ava DuVernay ‘s documentary on the Central Park Five airs on Netflix beginning May 31st.

    In delving into the rotted core of the Big Apple, very few details are spared over the course of four mesmeric episodes. We bear witness to a lead prosecutor who ignores her moral objections in favor of convicting children she knows are innocent. We bristle as investigators pervert and contort the truth, causing families to burst at the seams. We watch helplessly as trauma engulfs the serenity of Black Boy Joy, and the promise of tomorrow becomes the gruesome scars of yesterday. As such, it’s a lot to endure. Almost too much. 

    At the screening I attended at Netflix, various audience members fought off violent sobs while others excused themselves entirely from the rest of the series after reaching their breaking point. Another attendee and I had to take a walk while fighting back tears because we were so distraught by what we had just seen—and we were only halfway done. So due to the tremendous toll that When They See Us can take on your emotional well-being, I strongly recommend preparing yourself accordingly beforehand. This is your trigger warning

    These events occur at a time when Donald J Trump is criticizing Joe Biden for supporting the 1994 crime bill. The stage show and the televised documentary serve to remind us that Donald J Trump wanted the death penalty for the Central Park Five and has never apologized even after they were exonerated.


    Yusef Salaam was 15 years old when Donald Trump demanded his execution for a crime he did not commit.

    The miscarriage of justice is widely remembered as a definitive moment in New York’s fractured race relations. But Trump’s intervention – he signed full-page newspaper advertisements implicitly calling for the boys to die – has been gradually overlooked as the businessman’s chances of winning the Republican nomination have rapidly increased. Now those involved in the case of the so-called Central Park Five and its aftermath say Trump’s rhetoric served as an unlikely precursor to a unique brand of divisive populism that has powered his rise to political prominence in 2016.

    “He was the fire starter,” Salaam said of Trump, in his first extended interview since Trump announced his run for the White House. “Common citizens were being manipulated and swayed into believing that we were guilty.”


    Given the taunts Trump’s throws at Biden, we need to remember where Donald J Trump stands.



    The prosecutor, Linda Fairstein, fabricated evidence. She has profited from a series of books. Their is now a petition circulating for Amazon and other sites to boycott her books.

    Fairstein has taken down some of her social media accounts

    “@lindafairstein went on to become a successful author after she coerced and convicted 5 innocent boys of a crime they did not commit. These boys sat in prison and lost their youth inside of a broken system while she made millions!” Love and Hip-Hop: New York star Jonathan Fernandez wrote to his 503k followers. “Call your local book stores and ask to remove this woman’s books off the shelves! Tag @barnesandnoble @amazon @audible #whentheyseeus #centralpark5"

    Fairstein has yet to officially comment on the ensuing boycott, in part because with #WhenTheySeeUs and #CancelLindaFairstein trending she’s seemingly removed any trace of her social media presence.


    Good for charities to drop bullies, good PR - think she has it backwards.

    Linda Fairstein resigns from charity boards and Vassar board after exposure of her role in the Central Park Five Case.

    The. Central Park Five received an award from the ACLU.We are reminded that Donald J Trump put a bounty on their heads


    Candace Owens, tries to provide cover for Trump by attacking the Central Park Five.

    We have to remember that prior to supporting Trump, Owens ran an anti-Trump website where she attacked Trump and Ted Cruz. There is more money being a black person who is pro-Trump.


    Yet Owens, suddenly a new face of the American right, was less than two years ago the CEO of an online publication that frequently mocked then-candidate Trump, including conducting a mock “investigation” into his penis size. (The story determined that it was likely very small.) And in a 2015 column for the site lambasting conservative Republicans, Owens wrote that it was “good news” that the “Republican Tea Party ... will eventually die off (peacefully in their sleep, we hope).”

    Indeed, the speed with which Owens has gone from running a frequently anti-Trump, anti-conservative website to being one of the president’s most prominent new supporters illustrates the wild land grab still going on for influence in the pro-Trump ecosystem.


    Owens did not immediately respond to requests for comment via email and Twitter, though she did stress in tweets earlier today that the writers for the site, called Degree180, were young. She also described the reporter as a "despicable creature."

    (She also accused BuzzFeed News, falsely, of "threatening" the former writers for the site.)

    Though Degree180 is now defunct, the Internet Archive has preserved much of its content — a mix of Thought Catalog–style personal essays, bloggy political musings, woke admonishments, and relationship advice. Many of the writers for Degree180, which Owens registered in 2015, were college students.

    And many of them expressed their displeasure with Donald Trump. In a December 2015 story, “Serious Question: Is Donald Trump a Social Experiment?” the site’s editor, Zoe Weiner, wrote of Trump’s now-notorious pledge to end Muslim immigration to the US, “You guys remember Nazi Germany, right?” (Weiner, now a freelance writer, declined to comment for this story.) In a sarcastic post titled “Thank You Letter to Donald Trump” in April 2016, one contributor to the site wrote: “The idea of you being my future President makes my skin crawl, but you did provide me with a new sense of political awareness.” An article from March 1, 2016, explained that even though Trump was married to an immigrant, he could still be racist. And a March 18, 2016, article titled “Does Donald Trump Actually Have a Small Penis?” concluded that “Donald Trump most likely has a penis the size of an infant. ... Hitler is the one guy that comes to mind that may have topped him.”

    Much of Owens’ recent popularity comes from her forceful disavowal of liberal narratives around structural racism, systemic inequality, and identity politics. But the site she ran trafficked heavily in such tropes. One story, “The Problem With Humanism and All Lives Matter,” made the case why the counter–Black Lives Matter slogan was misguided. Another story begged Caitlyn Jenner to reconsider her support for Ted Cruz — who, the author claimed, wouldn’t be a good advocate for transgender people. And a self-explanatory story is called “Your Issues With Dating Shorter Men Are Misogynistic.”

    The site did offer the occasional story by a conservative, such as a column by a Republican woman on the challenges of attending a liberal university. And most of Owens’ writing for Degree180 was not political. Much of it was personal, including essays about her struggle with anorexia, inspirational exhortations, a fierce essay titled “Fuck Girl Code: I Can Hook Up With Your Ex-Boyfriend If I Want,” and advice about how to get prescription stimulants “without so much as a doctor’s evaluation.” (The site seems to have stopped publishing new material in December 2016.)

    Prosecutor Elizabeth Lederer won’t be returning as a part-time lecturer at Columbia Law School after students demanded the university cut ties with her.

    Finally, the person who prosecuted the case against the Central Park Five in court is facing consequences.

    Affecting Queens, NY local primary race:

    Manhattan DA is rejecting demand to fire the lead prosecutor on the case, Elizabeth Lederer. who still works in his office.

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