365 Ways to Kill an American
Yeah. You read that correctly. 365 days. 365 ways.
The sensationalization of blackness in the media has seemed to skyrocket as a parallel to the advancement of technology, mass, and social media. On the one hand, we as a society benefit from seeing people of color in the media more now than ever before, seeing as how black stories were seemingly non existent (because clearly despite 400 years of captivity we didn't have any interesting stories to tell, duh.) But on the other, a lot of what we are finally able to see centers around the slaughtering of these very black and brown bodies. So much so, that it has become normalized. Jordan Rome sought to take matters into her own hands.
Rome is a rising Chicago based filmmaker. Although unorthodox in her self taught method of obtaining filmmaking skillsets and techniques, her passion for social justice and the telling of under observed stories is something that cannot be found in a textbook, even afforded the opportunity.
Rome's passion for storytelling has steered her in the direction of her current project "365 Ways to Kill an American," an ongoing film series that helped her make her big debut to the Chicago film industry. The first edition was a captivating portrayal of the final moments of the life of Chicago Activist Sandra Bland, before her life was taken at the hands of police in July of 2015. According to Rome, the series explores the levels of police brutality committed against Black bodies in America. Through reenactments, revisualizations, and multiple interpretations it delves into well-known cases that have been sensationalized by the media such as, Sandra Bland, Philando Castile, Trayvon Martin etc. The
series aims to humanize these people's stories through deconstructing the media’s normalization
of them. Because perspective controls ones appraisal of events, this series challenges the way
society creates meaning around this incessant problem. Lastly, it hopes to spread awareness and
create space for conversation amongst all, and not simply those targeted by the injustices of
racially motivated police brutality.
When Jordan realized that she could somehow merge her passions for social justice and storytelling, she took heed to the opportunity, with the goal of blanketing a sense of empathy over a community of non-Black people to discuss stories that may not have been directly affecting their own communities. "365 WTKAA" aims to shed light on the intricacies of black and brown communities that people do not regularly see, unveiling what is nuanced beneath the color of their skin. Such a large task was not easy, seeing as how Jordan had never made a film before this one. When asked about the difficulties of the project considering her lack of experience, Jordan responded:
"This project has been a learning experience from the beginning of its conception. I am an actress turned filmmaker, who felt called to do this work. I had no experience behind the
camera whatsoever so I’ve been learning along the way with people who were bold enough to join me and believe in my vision."
June 30th, 2019 marks the release of the second part of the film series, entitled "365 Ways to Kill an American - Philando Castile," where the film will dive deeper into a second popular police brutality case regarding the 2016 fatal shooting and killing of 32 year old Philando Castile in Falcon Heights Minnesota. Part two will be screened in Chicago, Illinois. As for Jordan's audience, she hopes to leave the impression of police brutality affecting more than just people with black or brown skin:
"The police violence in our Nation, our criminal INjustice system is a HUMAN rights issue, not a BLACK or POC issue - everyone should be outraged.
If anything this work has helped me realize that there is a bridge between art and activism, and I’m still learning how to ethically and morally construct that specifically when it comes to what I’m making."
Be a Rebel.