Homeless Black Man Creates Groundbreaking Film, Inspires Community

Ira McKinley The Throwaways documentary. www.blackbluedog.com

Ira McKinley

Ira McKinley’s story is one that is oftentimes ignored by mainstream media. The 49-year-old man has faced some of the most traumatic experiences known to man. He lost his brother to suicíde and his father to police brutality. He also found himself homeless after serving nine years in the federal penitentiary on non-violent drug charges.

Contrary to what most people believe about ex-felons, Ira sought to uplift himself and his community upon his release from prison. He sought aid from the state, but was rejected time and time again because of his criminal history. Frustrated by the cat and mouse chase that he was sent on for assistance, Ira turned to Unitarian Universalist Church of Albany, NY, which he says “I chose to attend this church because of their commitment for social change in my area. They are based on the concept that love is the key.” The church’s love and commitment to the community and Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow were the inspiration behind his decision to create The Throwaways, a timely and provocative look at the impact of mass incarceration and police brutality on black males in America.  More than a simple illumination of marginalized people at their weakest moments; this film is a call to action, a story of directly engaging in the fight for justice.
Ira believes his film can make an impact in the ongoing conversation about race and the criminal justice system in America. The Throwaways , co-directed and produced by Ira and Bhawin Suchak, is currently in the post-production phase. It is currently in need of funding so that it can be mass distributed across the nation.

Check out the interview I had with Ira McKinley about The Throwaways and Black America:

What made you come up with the name The Throwaways?
I came up with the name of The Throwaways because I am, like others, dealing with a New Jim Crow system that helps keep people of color in the viscious cycle of homelessness, poverty and the complete alienation from society. Since I have been released from prison (Arthurkill Correctional Facility in Staten Island, NY), I see how this New Jim crow system works to keep some of us oppressed. I came to realize to [a] certain class of people, I was considered a Throwaway. So after doing some great things in other cities, I came back to Albany, NY and it was the same situation again — homelessness, poverty and despair. So I went to the state library here and started reading Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow and realized she was writing my life history. I said to myself  “What she expressed in a book I will show on film.” At first it was other people’s story but my co-director/producer Bhawin Suchak and Jay Wilcox convinced me that we could not do story unless I became the main character.
Please give me your thoughts on how mass incarceration directly affected the Black community.
Mass Incarceration is the major cause of dysfunctionalism in the African American communities. It is the new Willie Lynch system of exploiting a whole population for control.
How would you like to see your community change?
 I would like to see the our communities go green. Greening our Ghettos is the key to our survival. It is the solution for us to learn to live healthier and stop our dependence on fossil fuel so that we can have cleaner air and also help save our planet.
What do you hope to accomplish from this film?
 The goal is to give back part of the gate to these communities so they can continue to function without all of the red tape and to start a coalition of organizers. We already have a core group of people like Kenneth Braswell of Fathers Inc.; Yusuf Abdul-Wasi- who coordinates  DEC Diversity Program and is responsible for an urban outreach to increase the diversity of their Summer Youth Environmental Education Camps; Jacqui C. Williams who is the founder of FIGAH (Filling in the Gaps in African American History); Corrie Terry MAMAS (Mothers Against Mυrders and Shootings); and Renee Panettam who is also deeply into the environment. We are trying to raise awareness and funds for under-served communities by doing these forums and talking to communities with nationally known guest panelists like Dr. Benjamin Chavis and Dr. Wilmer Leon. We would love for Dr. Boyce Watkins to participate. We will also do concert tours using old-school and social conscious musicians. I do have another film I am working on and let me say this it is just as powerful as The Throwaways.

Click Here For More Information About The Throwaways And How You Can Help Push the Message Forward

27 Responses to Homeless Black Man Creates Groundbreaking Film, Inspires Community

  1. Very positive hope all continues to go well for the brother.

  2. Fantastic Ira. I am so proud of you. I knew you would do great things since grade school. Love ya. Tammie

  3. This is one of the great issues of the day that disturbs me and hurts me more than any other ill facing our Black Communities.

    I am 60 and in all my time of living in New York, Rome, LA or Atlanta
    I have never seen an Asian, a African, a Hispanic, a Arab or Jew ever eating out of a garbage can.

    I have only seen my Black Brothers & Sisters do this, and I HATE it!

    Today I will never walk by my Sister or Brother who is homeless without stopping and giving that person a helping hand and a smile and tell the human being who looks like me and my father and my mother and say Brother – Sister YOU are loved by GOD ME.

    The community we live in is a TOTAL REFLECTION of who we are,
    nothing more and nothing less. If you see someone homeless in your community go over and try to do or say something positive.

    A cup of Coffee and a smile does so much to heal a broken soul lost and helpless at that moment; we all come and go by the grace & mercy and LOVE of the father GOD.

    “If we have no peace it is because, we have forgotten we belong to each other.” —Mother Teresa

    Black America see yourself eating out of a garbage can and then thank GOD you don’t have to.

    Let’s stop being so d**n selfish and care about our communities and may the kindness and grace reflect the GOD in each of us.

    Charles Micheaux

  4. Gold Bureau really need to transfer a conventional or Roth IRA to your precious metal IRA and also
    this is a lot simpler. Humans have minds, egos, moods, wants, desires –
    everything that good stuff. IRS has set standards with regards
    to your physical asset’s fineness, that will be followed to
    have your account investment. Most successful
    investors have more than 25% of retirement funds in gold because the platinum could offset losses seen with dollar-backed investments while at the same time increasing in value as golds spot price increases because of higher safe-haven demand.
    The American Silver Eagle as well as the Mexican Silver Libertad bullion coins, introduced in 1986 and also 1982
    correspondingly, have been made of 99.

  5. I applaud you Ira, you take the negative and turn it into some deep thoughts. Not been bitter but to throw it out there that everything that our Black leaders fought for, is over looked, BOB MARLEY SINGS A SONG ABOUT MENTAL SLAVERY LISTEN TO IT. CONTINUE TO BE STRONG,I WOULD LOVE TO HAVE YOU ON MY TALK SHOW AS A GUEST. TO LET PEOPLE OUT THERE HERE YOU VIEWS AND THOUGHTS TO HELP MAKE THIS MOVIE A SUCCESS. HERE IS MY EMAIL MSDIVINE37@YAHOO.COM

  6. Ira you are an inspiration to a new generation keep up the good work and getting out your truth as well as mine and many other I love you as a brother stay strong and committed

  7. I wish him all the best!!!Has he tried Kickstart?

  8. Wonderful, Brotha! I would like to share a video entitled The BlackMan(State of Emergency)on Youtube.It will enhance your program. Share it with the the population. Peace!

  9. Robert L. Horton

    Born 2 Serve Time

    Why did a 6 by 9 have to be my fate?
    Jail is h**l within the confines of time,
    I grieve because I was deceived, but now it’s too late-
    Lord please have mercy and press rewind.

    On the streets I was rough and lived life without fear,
    I didn’t give a f**k and dared you to test me-
    But now learning to care because my enemies are near,
    It took being locked up to respect being free.

    It seems like I was born to be an inmate,
    While growing up all conceivable odds were stacked against me-
    I grew up convinced that being incarcerated was my fate,
    And when they locked me up they threw away the key.

    Change is a strange word when you don’t believe you can,
    Double life means my son will serve time too,
    That’s because I wasn’t around to be a man,
    Born 2 serve time is what I was destined to do.

    Robert L. Horton

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