It can be a long process to understand the way our systems and structures prop up and cause racial inequality–especially for people who haven’t suffered directly, and may even have benefited from these systems. One way to begin is by watching great movies or reading books that illustrate key aspects of systemic racism. The stories and images can shape our imaginations in powerful ways, and film can be a force for rewiring how viewers see the world off-screen, too.
As part of Calvary’s Racial Equity Initiative (REI) to recognize and to educate ourselves about systemic racism and to explore the unconscious bias in our own hearts and minds, we are launching a series of programs to help promote discussion and understanding. Discussing selected movies that illustrate the effects of systemic racism is one form of education. Be on the lookout for news about our Book Discussions too.
Sign up to join us online via Zoom on the third Sunday of each month at 4 pm to participate in a facilitated group discussion. Participants should watch the movie on your own prior to the event.
A powerful true story about racism and the U.S. justice system, this 2019 legal drama follows African American, Harvard-educated lawyer Bryan Stevenson as he heads to Alabama to represent death row inmates. One of his first cases concerns Walter McMillian, a young African American man sentenced to die for the murder of a young white girl. Stevenson becomes embroiled in a labyrinth of legal and political maneuverings and racial tensions as he fights to establish McMillian’s innocence.
The film is based on the memoir of the same name, written by Stevenson, who founded the Equal Justice Initiative, a legal practice dedicated to defending the poor, wrongly condemned and those trapped in the furthest reaches of our criminal justice system.
MPAA rating: PG-13
Movie rated by Commonsense Media for 13+ years old, with swearing and some violence/upsetting scenes, but positive messages and role models.
Calvary’s Racial Equity Initiative statement of purpose:
We recommit to recognizing and dismantling racism and unconscious bias in our own hearts and minds, in the institution of the church, and in the broader culture. We will provide a space to process what we are seeing and learning and to discern our call as a community of faith to take action toward these goals. Our shared set of values and mission calls us to transform lives for Christ: that now calls us to transform our own lives to be less complicit in racist aspects of our culture, to transform the lives of those who have historically faced oppression by helping eradicate systemic racism disproportionately affecting them, and to be the hands and feet of Christ by opposing institutions and practices everywhere that deny the full humanity of all God’s children.