13th & The Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth

October 19, 2016

CFSY utilized buzz around 13th, a documentary film about the relationship between slavery and disproportionate incarceration of African Americans, to discuss its work on youth criminal justice.

Photo Credit: Netflix


Strategic Aim:

Spotlight a problem


Host a live tweet.

Take advantage of buzz around Ava DuVernay’s Netflix documentary film  “13th” about  the connection between slavery and mass incarceration to discuss its work on youth criminal justice.


After attending an AndACTION webinar where they were introduced to the power of pop culture for change, TCFSY (@theCFSY) worked with AndACTION to develop content and a tool kit to host a live tweet of “13th.” They invited two partner organizations the Campaign for Youth Justice and the Justice Policy Institute, which used the tool kit to participate. During the live tweet, TCFSY’s advocates and experts shared their thoughts on the film using the tool kit as a guide, and invited followers to watch and live tweet along with them and submit questions using the hashtags#13th and #TCFSY.


The live tweet was a success. Film interviewees like social justice activist Van Jones retweeted TCFSY’s Executive Director Jody Kent Lavy (45 RT’s and 86 Likes), and Malkia Cyril, director of the Center for Media Justice, retweeted TCFSY’s Advocacy Director James Dold. And the film’s director Ava DuVernay herself liked one of TCFSY’s tweets. Traffic to @theCFSY Twitter increased by 162% the week of the live tweet. This level of interaction gave TCFSY more visibility with an audience that’s interested in their issue.



TCFSY Communications and Policy Associate Daniel Landsman was excited about their use of pop culture, and told AndACTION it all started with attending the webinar:

“The webinar was a great starting point for my organization’s use of the Pop Culture Pivot. The energy and excitement the AndACTION staff had in this new resource and strategy was infectious. Within an hour of the webinar, I had gotten my whole office excited and onboard to start utilizing pop culture to expand our message.”