Stone Soup Cafe plans Pick-Your-Own Film Festival, discussion for MLK Day

  • In the 2019 film “Just Mercy,” a civil rights lawyer Bryan Stevenson (played by Michael B. Jordan) relocates to Alabama in 1989 to advocate for the poor. He takes up the case of Walter McMillian (Jamie Foxx), who was wrongly convicted of murder a year earlier, taking it all the way to the Supreme Court of Alabama. SCREENSHOT

  • The 2021 film “My Name Is Pauli Murray” tells the story of the legal trailblazer whose ideas influenced Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s fight for gender equality and Thurgood Marshall’s civil rights arguments. SCREENSHOT

  • The 2018 film “If Beale Street Could Talk,” based on the novel by James Baldwin, tells the story of a pregnant woman who fights to free her fiance, who’s in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. SCREENSHOT

  • The four-episode Netflix miniseries “When They See Us” tells the true story of the Central Park Five, teenage boys from Harlem falsely accused of a brutal attack. SCREENSHOT

  • The 2017 documentary film “The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson” investigates the Black gay rights activist’s 1992 murder. It chronicles Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, prominent figures in the gay liberation and transgender rights movements in New York City from the 1960s to the ’90s. SCREENSHOT

  • In the 2018 film “The Hate U Give,” Starr Carter is constantly switching between two worlds — the poor, mostly Black neighborhood where she lives and the wealthy, mostly white prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when she witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend at the hands of a police officer. SCREENSHOT

  • In this Aug. 28, 1963, file photo, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., head of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, addresses marchers during his “I Have a Dream” speech at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. AP File Photo

  • All Souls Church in Greenfield. Staff File Photo/PAUL FRANZ

Staff Writer
Published: 1/14/2022 3:59:50 PM
Modified: 1/14/2022 3:58:52 PM

GREENFIELD — Stone Soup Cafe will host its second annual Pick-Your-Own Film Festival, with a virtual discussion to be held on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, to honor the life and legacy of the iconic civil rights leader.

Anyone is invited to watch any or all of the six free streaming movies selected for the event and participate in a Zoom conservation at 6:30 p.m. on Monday to share their feelings about the films, which share a general theme of institutionalized racism within the American criminal justice system. People can register in advance for the discussion at bit.ly/3fixk2w.

Kirsten Levitt, executive director of Stone Soup Cafe, said last year’s online discussion generated “a widening of awareness as to how deep and widespread racism is and how bias makes us behave in very … inhumane manners.”

“I think it’s important for us to understand (King’s) work, understand the courage it takes to conduct that work in a nonviolent way,” she said. “All of the work that MLK did, all of the words that he spoke, continue to be relevant in the current times.”

Stone Soup Cafe is a pay-what-you-can lunch served by volunteers at All Souls Church in downtown Greenfield every Saturday afternoon.

The first selected movie is “Just Mercy,” a 2019 film based on the true story of Harvard-educated civil rights lawyer Bryan Stevenson (played by Michael B. Jordan), who in 1989 relocated to Alabama to advocate for the poor. He takes up the case of Walter McMillian (Jamie Foxx), who was wrongly convicted of murder a year earlier, taking it all the way to the Supreme Court of Alabama. The film is available to rent for $4 on various streaming platforms.

The other works include “My Name Is Pauli Murray,” a 2021 documentary (available for free on Amazon Prime) about the non-binary Black lawyer, activist, poet and priest whose ideas influenced Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s fight for gender equality and Thurgood Marshall’s civil rights arguments; and “If Beale Street Could Talk,” a 2018 film (on Hulu) based on James Baldwin’s novel about a pregnant woman who fights to free her fiance, who is in prison for a crime he didn’t commit.

There is one Netflix miniseries, “When They See Us,” which is about the true story of the Central Park Five, teenage boys from Harlem accused of a brutal attack. The other films are “The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson,” a Netflix documentary that investigates a Black gay rights activist’s 1992 murder; and “The Hate U Give,” a 2018 Hulu film about a young student who lives in a poor, mostly Black neighborhood and attends a wealthy, mostly white prep school only for the uneasy balance between these worlds to be shattered when she witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend at the hands of police.

Levitt said the virtual discussion will be moderated by Jansyn Thaw, the cafe’s director of programs and marketing. Levitt said last year’s conversation consisted of eight to 10 participants, and she hopes to at least double that number this time around.

“It’s totally open to however many show up,” she said.

Levitt, who has a biracial child, said she grew up in New York City and lived in the Cleveland area for more than 10 years before moving to Franklin County, where she was surprised by the area’s lack of racial diversity.

“My life has always been filled with diverse cultures and viewpoints. I come from a place where diversity is normal and to be in a place where it is so white, even as a white person, it’s shocking,” she said, adding that despite their progressive image, county residents often seem unaware of the institutionalized racism in the nation. “We live in a sea of white supremacy.”

Reach Domenic Poli at: dpoli@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 262.


Jobs



Support Local Journalism

Subscribe to the Greenfield Recorder, keeping Franklin County informed since 1792.


Greenfield Recorder

14 Hope Street
Greenfield, MA 01302-1367
Phone: (413) 772-0261
 

 

Copyright © 2021 by Newspapers of Massachusetts, Inc.
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy