American Black Journal, the longtime voice for the African American community on Detroit Public TV, is partnering with the innovative, community-based news organization, BridgeDetroit, to produce a three-episode series of special reports focusing on the Black Lives Matter movement. 

This story also appeared in DPTV - American Black Journal

Hosts Stephen Henderson and Orlando Bailey dig deeper into the urgent and prevalent issues and injustices endangering the lives of people of color. They talk with the individuals on the frontline of fighting systemic racism, advocating for police reform, promoting diversity in media coverage and advancing community safety. Our combined reporting staffs search for viable solutions as we tackle the question of what it really means to value Black life in America.  

The three episodes will premiere during the regular time slots of “American Black Journal” at 9:30 Sunday morning on Sept. 20 and 27 and Oct. 4. They will be repeated the following Wednesday evenings at 7:30 p.m. In addition, they can be viewed on-demand at

Here is a rundown of the three special reports:

Black Lives Matter – The Movement and the Message, Sept. 20

 The first program focuses on the true messages of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement and protests. What is BLM specifically asking for from law enforcement and local and state government?  What specific reform and policy changes is the organization advocating and what would that change look like?  What does Black Lives Matter really mean? We look at the other groups that have organized protests, along with their platforms and interactions with police.

Black Lives Matter – Is the Media Getting It Right?  Sept. 27

We examine  media coverage of BLM protests and the public’s perceptions of what’s happening versus the facts. What is it like to be a journalist of color covering Black Lives Matter protests?  What stories do they feel are missed when white journalists do the reporting? How do Black journalists separate their personal perspectives and activities from their reporting responsibilities? What happens when the journalists become part of the story – for example, getting arrested?

Black Lives Matter ─ Does Policing Equal Community Safety? Oct. 4

Detroit Police Chief James Craig touts the city as a model of good police-community relationships, which he says resulted in less violence and damage during the BLM protests than in other cities. We study that relationship from the viewpoint of the police and the community. We talk about law enforcement technology ─ is surveillance being confused with safety? When police show up after a crime is committed; should members of the community feel safe?  And if the community feels safe, is it because of activists or the police?

These special reports include multiple interviews with people making the news and people covering it, activists and authorities, to give viewers a clear and comprehensive understanding of the vital issues that have captured the attention of the public in a way unparalleled since the civil rights and street rebellions of the ‘60s. 

In addition, Detroit Public TV and BridgeDetroit will provide additional resources and reporting on the important social justice issues in our community. 

These special reports are part of the developing collaboration between the two organizations, both dedicated to providing community-centric coverage and essential engagement around the issues that have the greatest impact on the lives of the people of Detroit. 

Stephen Henderson is the Founding Editor of BridgeDetroit, and a former writer and editor for the Detroit Free Press, Baltimore Sun and Chicago Tribune. Winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Commentary,...

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