I have been moved by the story of the Central Park Five since I watched it on Netflix over the weekend. In “When They See Us”, the director Ava DuVernay tells us the dramatic story of 5 teenagers fallen victims of the utter corruption and blatant racism prevailing in the justice system in the 80s and 90s in the US.
Before they know it, Kevin Richardson, Antron McCray, Raymond Santana, Yusef Salaam and Korey Wise, aged between 14 and 16 find themselves arrested and in police custody suspected of having gang-raped investment banker Trisha Meili in Central Park on the night of April 19, 1989.
For obscure reasons, the detectives and prosecutors at the time were determined to arrest anyone as long as they fit the profile of a young brown or black male walking in Central Park that night. So obsessed were their racist quest that they resorted to manipulative techniques of interrogation on the youngsters who clearly didn’t know anything about life and what to do to protect it in such situations of police detention.
When I analyse the story of these teenagers from a spiritual point of view, I find it fascinating on so many levels. It is clear that these 5 boys made a spiritual contract to come and teach us about truth and to uncover the failures of the justice system in an America riddled with racism. The echos of the story are still reverberating 30 years on, as we remain shocked at how vicious the privilege white mentality can be over the plight of the coloured impoverished.
The turning point of the story for me is when Korey Wise, the oldest of the teenagers and the one that got the longest prison sentence, has become strong enough to defy the unfair justice system willing to grant him an early release only on the condition that he confesses to the rape he was convicted for but never committed. “If they don’t want to hear my truth, I don’t want to waste my energy (meeting with the parole board).” brilliantly sums up his new mindset. Over the years and despite the horrific conditions he experienced in prison, Korey has matured enough to satisfy himself with his situation of confinement, to the point that he is free in his mind, body and spirit as long as he stays true to himself, true to what he knows the truth of the Central Park Jogger case is.
I suppose that’s when the law of attraction works his magic, as he attracts to himself the events leading to his release, his exoneration and that of the other 4 wrongly convicted teenagers. It is interesting to realise that the only time these teenagers were not true to themselves was when they were under the coercion of these detectives who took advantage of their innocence and vulnerability to maliciously squeeze made-up confessions out of them. Never after this have they acted or looked even a little guilty of the crime they were accused of. They have always claimed their innocence and would not betray it for anything even if it meant staying longer in prison or not being rehabilitated. They have learned their lesson of truth and sense of self forever on these 3 days of interrogation following the night of April 19, 1989.
I recommend everyone to watch the 4-part series ‘When They See Us’ to get a genuine portrayal of institutionalised racism, corruption and greed within a justice system, but also to see how resourceful 5 teenagers had to be in order to grow up to the 5 brilliant men they are today after going through the most terrible hardships. These men are courageous souls, with the most courageous journey, mission and sacrifice for the benefit of all of us.