Please join us for an evening of short films exploring the marriage of arts, education, and activism in communities of color, specifically Chicago. ’63 Boycott, about the fight to desegregate Chicago public schools, will screen with The Chicago Mixtape, a film that advocates for the support of arts education as a means of youth empowerment.
In 1963, the conditions of public schools servicing black neighborhoods in Chicago were disastrous: overcrowded, poorly staffed, and shoddily maintained. Rather than let black students enroll in white schools, School Superintendent Benjamin Willis placed run-down trailers in playgrounds and parking lots surrounding school buildings. Parents, educators, and students reacted in outrage and, on October 22nd, over 250,000 people marched through the city to demand Willis’ resignation. Directed by Gordon Quinn (Home for Life, A Good Man), ’63 Boycott connects the forgotten story of one of the largest northern civil rights demonstrations to contemporary issues around race, education, school closings, and youth activism.
Gordon Quinn. 2017. 30 m. NR. US. English. Kartemquin Films.
The Chicago Mixtape
The news out of Chicago tends to highlight an increasing homicide rate, failing school system, and police corruption. Violence has become the norm for many residents, leaving a bleak future. In the documentary Chicago Mixtape, filmmaker Paola Piers-Torres attempts to flip the narrative. Through the story of 13 year old Jalen, we enter into the world of spoken word, performance, and activism. Jalen and his peers use poetry as a vehicle for change, and learn to pick up the tools of creation rather than destruction. Piers-Torres crafts a compelling argument for the necessity of arts education as a means of empowering a new generation of activists and community leaders.
Paola Piers-Torres. 2017. 28 m. NR. US. English.