Thursday, March 10, 2011

Community Members Explore Racism at the Cultural Engagement Film Series at the Phinney Neighborhood Association (PNA)

On Sunday February 27, the Phinney Neighborhood Association was packed with over 50 people who had come to view “The House We Live In,” the third episode from the documentary series Race: The Power of an Illusion. In the facilitated discussion following the film, attendees talked about the issues raised in the film and shared personal feelings about how racism and discrimination have affected them on a mental and emotional level. In addition, other topics included how the racism illuminated in the film affects their perception of society today and what can be done to fight against racism in our society.

At the conclusion of the program, attendees were asked to write down and name one thing they wanted to do because of attending the event. Here is a sample of some of the responses:

“I am going to stand with immigrant farm workers in voicing the racism we experience in the U.S.”

“I will make more of an effort to get informed, attend events and participate in discussions.”

“Being more vocal when I hear people around me make racist remarks or jokes by questioning those stereotypes and ways of thinking.”

“Teach what race is (and is not) in Biology class.”

“As President of the African American Student Union, I wish to show this film and have a discussion at my university to expand the students’ way of thinking, then brainstorming ways to correct the system not just through words but actions.”

Sponsored by the PNA’s Cultural Engagement Workgroup, this was the first in a series of movie screenings and discussions focusing on racial and social justice issues. The series explores society’s social institutions and how systems and behavior perpetuate and reinforce discriminatory practices and inequities. Another objective of these events is to provide a comfortable community space for education and thought – provoking conversations about important social topics.

The PNA looks forward to engaging community members through the viewing and discussion of the upcoming films in the series. The films (listed below) and discussions will be held from 3:00 to 5:00pm on the first Sundays of April, May, and June, in Community Hall in the Brick Building at the PNA, 6532 Phinney Ave N, Seattle 98103. Space is limited. RSVPs requested to:

April 3
Starting Again: Stories of Refugee Youth
Chronicles the lives of refugee youth in Washington state

May 1
Ten More Good Years
A documentary about the unique challenges facing Gay and Lesbian Seniors

June 5
Unnatural Causes
Documentary series exploring racial and socioeconomic inequalities in health

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