Monday, August 14, 2017

Academy Award nominated documentary "I’m Not Your Negro" spurs conversation

Marc Troutman, Met-Ed, a FirstEnergy Company
African American Business Leaders Council Vice Chair

On June 22, the African America Business Leaders Council hosted a screening of the academy award nominated documentary film I’m Not Your Negro. The event was held at the Civic Theatre in Allentown. The event was more than just a screening; guests were also participants in a panel discussion that followed the film. The discussion panel was special in the sense that it consisted of people with ties to the film as well as its subject matter. Guests on the panel included Pamela Brook, the mother of a young man mentioned in the film who was killed in a police pursuit at the age of 17; Trevor Baldwin, Nephew of the activist James Baldwin who was the main character in the film, was skyped in for the panel discussion from California; and Allentown police officer Luiz Garcia.

The event started with a brief meet and greet followed by the screening and panel discussion. The film is a documentary on race relations in the United States covering the impact and demise of several leaders such as Martin Luther King , Malcom X and Medgar Evers. James Baldwin participated with and documented experiences with these leaders over a period of time. The audience was mainly African American but included many others who were interested in the film as well as the betterment of our Lehigh Valley community. The panel discussion was interactive, not only between panelists and the moderator, but  also the audience. The piece is considered unfinished and the participants picked up on that during the discussion. It is unfinished in the sense that we still have work to do across the nation as well as the Lehigh Valley.

At the end of the evening, the common request from the audience was, "What’s next?" We need to keep the conversation going. All agreed that more discussions like this should take place but also agreed you can start the conversation any time at any place. Overall, the event was very meaningful and insightful for all involved.

No comments: