The exonerated men known as the Central Park 5 sat down with Oprah Winfrey Sunday (June 9) to discuss the effects of the Netflix limited series When They See Us, and how much, if any, change has taken place in the 30 years since they were falsely accused of beating and raping 28-year-old Trisha Meili.
The special event, titled When They See Us Now was held at Netflix’s FYSEE space, marks the first time the series executive producer spoke to the men about their experience and the new attention brought to the forefront due to the series.
“You know, here we are 30 years later and not too many things have changed,” Kevin Richardson said. “We’re all connected. We’re just a modern-day Scottsboro Boys. It’s all the same thing. So I’m happy and ecstatic that we can start the conversation now, and make sure there will never be another Central Park 5 and make sure we have the platform to make sure of that.”
On May 31st, the four-part limited series directed by Ava DuVernay told the story of Richardson, Yusef Salaam, Raymon Santana, Antron McCray and Korey Wise from the vantage point of the five teens and families. While the series received a lot of positive feedback, there were some, particularly black people, who said they wouldn’t watch it because there are many innocent black and brown citizens behind bars today.
“It is bittersweet because watching this is painful but it’s necessary” Richardson continued. “This needs to be watched.”
Check out a clip from the interview, and the full-length sitdown airs on Netflix Wednesday, June 12.