Directed by Jeff Adachi
Ever since Donald Trump has taken office, it has become increasingly difficult for people of color to depend on American institutions to protect them from racism and discrimination. Fortunately, the courts have served as a reliable line of defense against Trump’s agenda, stopping unconstitutional executive orders such as his travel ban and defunding of sanctuary cities. This is all thanks to the hard work of people like San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi.
At just over forty, Jeff Adachi became California’s only publicly elected Public Defender. But despite this incredible achievement, Adachi was still an underdog in the legal system, taking on hard cases such as that of Michael Smith, a young black man who, along with his then-pregnant girlfriend, was unjustly assaulted and arrested by the police. Though body-cam footage shows the police using excessive force without legal justification, as we have seen so many times in the past few months alone, the criminal justice system is horribly rigged against people of color. And that’s exactly what drives Adachi to help Smith and his girlfriend.
It’s also what drives Adachi to be a voice of resistance against Donald Trump. It’s painful to watch Adachi and his colleagues witness Trump’s Electoral College victory, but witnessing how Adachi took action more than makes up for having to relive the nightmare of November 8.
DEFENDER serves as an essential reminder that even though racism is well and alive in Trump’s America, there will always be brave people dedicated to fighting it.
Screening made possible by: Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF); Asian American Bar Association of NY (AABANY); Asian American Journalists Association NY Chapter, Asian American Association of Time Inc. (A3)