Eighteen years ago, history recorded one of the worst American tragedies to happen in Texas in modern times.
June 7 marks the 18th anniversary of James Byrd Jr’s murder in Jasper, Texas.
To honor Byrd’s memory, Executive Film Producer Ricky Jason is debuting for a limited time a free special screening of the documentary “Byrd: The Life and Tragic Death of James Byrd Jr.”, available on YouTube.
The documentary is available to watch on YouTube until June 30. To watch the documentary visit the following link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PzW4FJE-110
“We do this because it is important that we do not forget this tragedy,” Jason said. “It placed us at the forefront in the fight for justice and defines our reason for never giving up in the fight against hatred and motivates us to hold our ground on the demands for justice and peace for all who fall victim to this kind of senseless violence.”
Jason said that he is using YouTube as a visual platform to present the documentary so people can see and understand firsthand what happened to James Byrd Jr. He also added that it is his hope that his efforts will help prevent this type of hatred from being passed on to future generations.
On June 7, 1998, Byrd accepted a ride from 3 men named Shawn Allen Berry, Lawrence Russel Brewer, and John William King. Instead of taking him home, the three men beat Byrd behind a convenience store, tied him to their pickup truck with a chain tied around his waist, and dragged him about three miles. Brewer and King were sentenced to death and Berry received life in prison for their parts in James Byrd Jr’s murder. Brewer has since been executed by the State of Texas in 2011.
Jason added that Byrd’s case was only the tip of the iceberg and should have warned America that ills of hatred and racism were festering just under noses of American communities.
Since Byrd’s death, numerous acts of violence against African American males and females have been reported and many are making headlines on a daily basis.
“From Trayvon Martin to Tamir Rice cases and incidents from Ferguson Missouri, Flint, Mich. to Long Island, N.Y., we have seen the trends that continue to demonstrate racially motivated crimes against African-Americans are a real problem,” he said. “Violence against Blacks is all to common and continues to increase because it appears that Black Lives mean little to the Police, the justice system or others who feel like its open season on us.”
The documentary features interviews from Dick Gregory, Martin Luther King III, Susan Sarandon, Sis. Helen Prejean, Maxine Waters, and others and has won critical acclaim and numerous awards across the country.
“My hope is that the film will create and start the kind of positive dialog needed across the board that will end these types of attacks,” Jason said. “Racism and hatred are a cancer on America that is killing us. Until we face it and resolve these differences, we are only making things worse for all of us.”