Examining the intersections of crime, media and race

race-to-execution-dvd.jpgAs part of SMU’s ongoing celebration of Black History Month, the Division of Cinema-Television in Meadows School of the Arts and the Human Rights Education Program will present two documentary films by new CTV chair and Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Rachel Lyon.

Race to Execution,” which aired on PBS’ “Independent Lens” (2007) and blackpublicmedia.org (2008), examines the ways in which race bias affects the United States’ capital punishment system and the factors that influence decisions on who lives and who dies at the hands of the state. The film traces the fates of two death-row inmates through their personal stories and testimony from defense attorneys, prosecutors, criminal justice scholars and experts in law and the media.

Juror Number Six” is a short Internet film focusing on how the media affects public perceptions of race, crime and punishment. The film highlights the role that TV news, shows like “CSI” and “Cops,” the Internet and other new media can have in the racialized crime-media business.

Following the showings will be a panel discussion with Lyon; Rick Halperin, director of the Human Rights Education Program; Dick Hawkins, associate professor of sociology in Dedman College; and Victoria Palacios, associate professor in Dedman School of Law. Refreshments will be served.

The screenings begin at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 26 in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Forum, with the panel discussion scheduled to begin at 8:45 p.m. A reception will kick off the events at 7 p.m. The program is free and open to the public. For more information, call 214-768-1158 or 214-493-8848.