Enduring Racism

(Pictured above: ‘Strong Island’ director Yance Ford. Source: Youtube screenshot)

Today, Strong Island, Yance Ford’s “deeply intimate and meditative” documentary about the April 1992 murder of her brother, premieres both on Netflix and in a limited theatrical release.

William Jr., a black 24-year-old teacher, was killed on Long Island, NY, by Mark Reilly, a white 19-year-old mechanic. Reilly was acquitted, but Ford, unarmed at the time, nevertheless “became the prime suspect in his own murder.”

The film follows the arc of director Yance Ford’s “family across history, geography and tragedy – from the racial segregation of the Jim Crow South to the promise of New York City; from the presumed safety of middle class suburbs, to the maelstrom of an unexpected, violent death.” It is a film about how the Ford family was affected “by the enduring shadow of racism in America,” asking “what one can do when the grief of loss is entwined with historical injustice, and how one grapples with the complicity of silence, which can bind a family in an imitation of life, and a nation with a false sense of justice.”

Strong Island won the Special Jury Award for Storytelling at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival.

To watch Strong Island, visit Netflix.

About Larry Greenberg

A former local beat reporter and film critic, co-founder Lawrence Greenberg has more than 25 years’ experience as a writer and public relations executive.

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