When NBA players walked off the court in protest over the police shooting of Jacob Blake in late August 2020, they announced a surprising precondition for their return: that the arenas in which they played should be used as voting sites in the November 2020 election.
The idea had been floated by a group of activists led by Eugene Jarecki, an Emmy and Peabody award-winning documentary filmmaker from Vermont. Jarecki is co-chair of the non-partisan Election Super Centers Project. Numerous professional sports teams have now agreed to have their stadiums and arenas serve as election centers, including the Indiana Pacers, Dallas Mavericks, Pittsburgh Steelers, Milwaukee Bucks, Golden State Warriors and Washington Wizards. Jarecki explains how the idea became reality with the help of basketball superstar LeBron James, coach Doc Rivers, and others, and why they view this move as a vital strategy to defend fair elections and American democracy.
Eugene Jarecki, filmmaker and co-chair, Election Super Centers Project
In just the first two months of the pandemic, 70,000 Americans died of COVID-19–more Americans than died during the decade-long Vietnam War. Epidemiologists have written that if Trump had instituted social distancing on March 9, a week earlier than he did, there would have been a 60 percent reduction in deaths. Will President Trump be held accountable for the deaths? Emmy and Peabody award-winning filmmaker Eugene Jarecki writes in the Washington Post, “A national death clock is needed to measure the number of American lives that have been unnecessarily lost to President Trump and his administration’s failures in managing the coronavirus pandemic.” Jarecki discusses his effort to make the death clock go viral, and the silver linings that he sees in the pandemic. (May 6, 2020 broadcast)
What do the war on drugs, the military-industrial complex and Elvis Presley have in common? They are all the subject of films by filmmaker and Vermont resident Eugene Jarecki. Jarecki is an Emmy and Peabody award-winning documentary director who has twice won the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival. Jarecki has spent his career exposing and exploring American capitalism and culture in works such as his 2006 film about US militarism called “Why We Fight,” and his 2012 film, “The House I Live In,” about systemic racism in the “war on drugs.” His other film subjects include Henry Kissinger and President Ronald Reagan. Jarecki discusses how he bought Elvis’s 1963 Rolls Royce and drove it across American for his latest film, The King, his life in films and why he declined an opportunity to interview Donald Trump for his film. (June 19, 2019 broadcast)