New York— America in Black and Blue 2020, a new PBS NewsHour Weekend special, offers context for and insight into the widespread protests currently engulfing the nation after the latest display of police brutality against Black citizens. Premiering tonight, Monday, June 15, 2020 at 9 p.m. on PBS (check local listings), pbs.org/newshour and the PBS Video app, America in Black and Blue 2020 reports from across the country to explore the struggle for racial justice, accountability, equity and police reform efforts.
“In 2016, we worked with PBS and our producing partners to create America in Black and Blue, a special report about the alarming number of Black lives ended by police officers. The deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and countless others since then necessitate a new look at this continued crisis in America, rooted in our nation's founding," said Neal Shapiro, President and CEO of The WNET Group. "We hope the first-hand accounts, points of view and reporting in this new special serve as a vital reminder that the lives and rights of Black people cannot be ignored, and that we all play a part in bringing an end to injustice, racism, discrimination and violence."
Hosted by Emmy- and Peabody Award-winning journalist Alison Stewart, America in Black and Blue 2020 features new interviews with author and cultural critic Roxane Gay; long-time Minnesota police reform advocate and lawyer Nekima Levy Armstrong, a former candidate for mayor and former head of the Minneapolis NAACP; and Rep. Val Demings (D-Florida), former Chief of the Orlando Police Department. PBS NewsHour Weekend Anchor Hari Sreenivasan explores whether tech-based law enforcement methods, including facial recognition and so-called "predictive policing," run the same risks of racism that ordinary methods do, while correspondent Christopher Booker reports on barriers to police reform. NJTV News correspondent Michael Hill provides an update from the 2016 special on Newark, New Jersey's ongoing policing problems and trouble implementing the city's first civilian complaint review board.
A recent Amanpour and Company interview with lawyer and criminal justice reform activist Bryan Stevenson by contributor Walter Isaacson explores the reaction to Floyd's death compared to similar moments in the past. The special also includes an interview with Kevin Young, poet and Director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, as well as an excerpt from the upcoming PBS Independent Lens documentary Women in Blue that features the work of an African American Minneapolis police sergeant.
America in Black and Blue 2020 is a production of Creative News Group, LLC in association with WNET and NewsHour Productions, LLC and WETA. Ann Benjamin is director. Theresa Lewis is broadcast producer. Leigh Anne Sides is show editorial producer. Tom Casciato is show producer. Dana Roberson is executive producer. Stephen Segaller and Neal Shapiro are executives-in-charge.
Funding for America in Black and Blue 2020 is provided by PBS, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Mutual of America, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Rosalind P. Walter, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Charles Rosenblum, Consumer Cellular, Janet Prindle Seidler, Judy and Josh Weston and public television viewers.