Social Justice Institute Meet the Filmmaker: A discussion with Ashley O’Shay

Photo of Ashley O'Shay
Ashley O’Shay

The Social Justice Institute (SJI) will host an opportunity for students to virtually meet with filmmaker Ashley O’Shay, winner of the Cleveland International Film Festival (CIFF) Groundbreaker Award. O’Shay is the director, producer and cinematographer of the CIFF45 Streams film UNAPOLOGETIC, the story of two young Black female activists fighting for transformative justice, responsible policing and legal reform in Chicago. 

Students can watch UNAPOLOGETIC at their convenience and then join the institute for a live virtual dialogue with O’Shay Monday, April 19, at 6 p.m. SJI Co-Directors Ayesha Bell Hardaway and Mark Chupp will moderate the discussion. The session will feature an interactive Q&A with O’Shay. Get the Zoom link for the event.

There are 10 ticket vouchers for students to see the film free (email For others, use the discount code FILM45 when purchasing tickets at (available 24 hours a day). Enter the code in the discount code box on the payment information screen during checkout to take $1 off of each ticket in your cart. This discount is good for any festival film ticket (some restrictions may apply). 

About the film

Janaé and Bella are Black female activists fighting for transformative justice, responsible policing and legal reform in Chicago. Frustrated that Black women are frequently excluded from leadership in mainstream movements, they unapologetically advocate for racial justice through a Black, queer, female lens. 

Photo from Unapologetic showing a young woman protesting while speaking into a bullhorn

Janaé, a leader in the Black Youth Project 100 and a doctoral candidate, balances rallies for justice with dissertation meetings. Bella is a scholar and “raptivist” using music to promote Black liberation and uplift Black women. The documentary follows their relentless campaigns to achieve justice for Rekia Boyd and Laquan McDonald, both fatally shot by police. Despite growing evidence of misconduct, no officers have received disciplinary action. 

UNAPOLOGETIC presents an unfettered view of a rising generation’s frustrations. Often misunderstood and perceived by authority as brash and unreasonable, these leaders are provided with a platform to freely express their concerns, fears and desires. What emerges is a beautiful portrait of two young activists maturing into Black woman organizers at the helm of powerful grassroots movements. View the trailer.