Daytona Times photojournalist’s new documentary focuses on injustice and racism

BY THE DAYTONA TIMES

“Fighting for Justice,” a new documentary by Daytona Times photojournalist Duane C. Fernandez Sr., will make its debut on Saturday, July 18, at Cinematique Theater in Daytona Beach.

The premiere is part of the “Coffee & Conversation” series at the theater located at 242 S. Beach St. The 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. event is free but requires registration at Eventbrite.com.

“Fighting for Justice” is Fernandez’s second Black history documentary and covers the killings of Black and Brown men and women in America, from Trayvon Martin in Sanford in 2012 to Marquis McGlockton in Clearwater in 2018.

Defining moments

This 45-minute film includes footage from Dr. Daniel Hollar’s class at Bethune-Cookman University where students relate their personal experiences and thoughts about Florida’s stand your ground law, Black Lives Matter, and the continuing mistreatment of Blacks and racism in America today. Hollar is the Psychology Department chair at the university.

The film also contains footage of Pastor Johnny Lee Gaddy, a survivor of the Arthur
G. Dozier School for Boys; the 2018 White nationalist rally and protest in Gainesville; the Ku Klux Klan rally in Columbia, South Carolina; speeches by Attorney Ben Crump, the Rev. Al Sharpton; NAACP Chair Leon Russell; Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood; as well as input from students at Daytona State College and the University of Florida.

The July 18 premiere will include a Q&A session featuring Fernandez.

The Rev. Al Sharpton speaks at an August 2018 rally in Clearwater demanding justice after the July 19, 2018 shooting death of Markeis McGlockton.

DUANE C. FERNANDEZ SR./HARDNOTTSPHOTOGRAPHY.COM

‘Things haven’t changed’

Fernandez calls “Fighting for Justice’’ a continuation of his first documentary, “Lies Uncovered – The Truth About the Arthur G. Dozier Reform School for Boys.’’

Fernandez created the documentary and wrote a book chronicling the horrors that took place at the reform school in Marianna.

His work exposes the truth about the reform school through interviews of Black men who were incarcerated at the reform school from the 1950s through the 1980s.

One of those victims who died at the school was Billy Jackson of Daytona Beach.

“For one, things haven’t changed,” he told the Times about the reason for the second documentary. “Two, it’s the younger generation that’s experiencing the same thing that people 80 years old experienced in the 1930s, ’40s and ’50s.’’

He’s also not surprised about recent tragedies involving Black men such as the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis and Rayshard Brooks in Atlanta.

“I’m not surprised. It’s actually more blatant. We have video cameras, police have body cameras; it seems like it’s gotten worse.’’

Award-winning photographer

Fernandez is an award-winning professional photographer and lead photo-journalist at the Times. He also is the owner and manager of the Deep Focus News Blog and producer of the “Rell Black Show’’ podcast.

His background includes the founding of Team Hardnotts University Youth Awareness Program / Teaching Youth to Shoot with Cameras Not Guns. He is also the owner and manager of Hardnotts Photography LLC in Daytona Beach.

He has received many awards as a photojournalist, including being named one of three finalists in a Florida Press Association contest for a photo collage published in 2016 titled “Capturing Harmony to Hate,’’ which showed visitors to Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston after the shooting there and a Ku Klux Klan rally held the same weekend.

In November 2019, he received a first-place award from the Tampa Bay Association of Black Journalists for his photograph of an August 2018 rally in Clearwater featuring civil rights activists demanding justice after the shooting death of Markeis McGlockton.

Fernandez is a graduate of Daytona State College and holds degrees in Photographic Studies and Television Production.

Signed copies of his book, “Lies Uncovered – The Truth About the Arthur G. Dozier Reform School for Boys,” will be available for purchase for $25 at the July 18 event at the Cinamatique.

For more information about Fernandez and his work, visit Hardnottsphotography.com.

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