If Beale Street Could Talk

Wednesday, February 6
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Featuring a post-film discussion on criminal justice reform with Frederick Clay, who was exonerated after after serving 38 years of a life sentence for a murder he has steadfastly maintained he did not commit, Boston University sociology professor Dr. Jessica Simes and Executive Director of the New England Innocence Project Radha Natarajan, moderated by Dr. Raul Fernandez.

About Frederick Clay

Frederick Clay was exonerated in August 2017 in Suffolk County after serving 38 years of a life sentence for a murder he has steadfastly maintained he did not commit. His wrongful conviction was based entirely on the testimony of two eyewitnesses, both of whose identifications were secured under extraordinarily unreliable circumstances. In the time since he achieved his freedom, he has generously shared his story with audiences at Boston College Law School, Harvard Law School, and the Massachusetts statehouse. He has also enjoyed many “firsts,” including climbing Mount Monadnock, running in his first 5K road race as part of the Running for Innocence team, taking his first ever airplane ride, and skydiving

About Jessica Simes

Dr. Jessica Simes is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Boston University with broad interests in punishment, urban inequality, poverty and marginality, and immigration. In her research, she studies the neighborhood conditions of mass imprisonment and the enduring racial disparities in incarceration. Her research has focused on analyzing prison records to understand spatial inequalities in incarceration in historical perspective across Massachusetts cities and neighborhoods.

About Radha Natarajan

Radha Natarajan is the Executive Director of the New England Innocence Project and also a Lecturer at BU’s School of Law. After 12 years as a public defender Radha joined the New England Innocence Project bringing her litigation skills, compassion and a fierce determination to bring an end to wrongful convictions. Nationally recognized as an expert in eyewitness identification, Radha applies the lessons learned in the reform of eyewitness identification to other flawed uses of forensic sciences. She provides trainings across the country to the judiciary, the defense bar, prosecutors and law enforcement.

About Raul Fernandez

Dr. Raul Fernandez is the Associate Dean for Equity, Diversity & Inclusion and a lecturer at Boston University’s School of Education. He teaches a graduate course on diversity and justice in education and studies the impact of school segregation on the racial dialogue gap. He also serves as a Town Meeting Member for Brookline's 9th Precinct, and as an active member of Brookline for Racial Justice and Equity. Dr. Fernadez co-created the Wide Lens film program with the Coolidge in 2018.

Wide Lens is supported by a grant from the Brookline Community Foundation.