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Every day the news is saturated with crimes painted to look like self-defense, justifiable, accidental and necessary by those who have participated and committed the offenses.

Could it be that these crimes and murders aren’t happenstance? Could it be that they are racially motivated hate crimes?

Quite possible. In fact, a film focused on putting current hate crimes in context with discrimination tactics and terrorism against people of color in America’s past reveals an incredible and sobering fact — there have been more hate crimes committed since President Obama has been in office than we’ve had in the past 25 years.

That fact alone begged the producers of the groundbreaking film Hate Crimes In The Heartland, a study of race in Tulsa following the race riots of 1921 and current crimes based on skin color, to ask the question, “why?”

During an intense tour of the nation’s colleges and community centers, Rachel Lyons and Pi-Isis Ankhra spoke with students, parents, historians, journalists and those affected by racism to see exactly how they felt about the state of race relations in the nation.

Their responses uncovered a painful truth that the movie aims to highlight — hate crimes and racism is a disease that we must treat and eradicate from our societies.

  • “This issue is not just a Tulsa issue, this is an American issue. We need 2 address race as an American community.” – Kavin Ross (Cincinnati panelist)
  • “America is a raceaholic. We need a 12 step program and a serenity prayer.” – Karen Hunter (Jersey City panelist)
  • “If we continue to accept the N word as part of our lexicon we have accepted a mentality that we are less than.” – Hasan Salaam (Jersey City panelist)
  • “I was wrongly accused. I was wrongly convicted. I was kidnapped.” – Korey Wise (Exonerated member of The Central Park Five/Jersey City panelist)
  • “We need your help to bring this issue to life so that together we can crate a roadmap toward reconciliation together.” – Rachel Lyon (HCHeartland director, writer, producer)
  • “The government should classify racism as a disease.  It’s a public health problem” (audience member from Chicago screening)
  • “We must ensure our children have the power. They are the ones we must arm to make the difference.” (audience member from Cincinnati screening)

Join us on GlobalGrind.com every Thursday in March to engage in a conversation on race through the lens of two distinct hate crimes in Tulsa, OK in 1921 and again in 2012.

For more information on Hate Crimes In The Heartland, click here.

To follow the producers as they embark on a national tour to explore the foremost social justice issues through the media, with stories that inform and inspire audiences and promote social progress, click here.

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