Friday, April 18, 2008

Civil Rights Movie "Right on Time" and "Coming to a Theater Near You"

As the dialog about race in America spreads from the campaign trail to the Sunday talk shows, from blogs to bars and coffee shops, there is one movie ideally placed to serve as the centerpiece of that dialog: Dare Not Walk Alone.

This is a documentary that doesn't shy away from hard-to-watch images of past intolerance or present inequality, yet manages to find signs of hope in both the past and present.

Hailed by critics as "brave filmmaking" and "a triumph of outrage and empathy" it opens next week in Los Angeles. (For show times and all the other info click here.) If enough people go see this movie in the first week it can secure openings in other cities across America and thus serve as tool by which to tear down the walls of suspicion and discomfort that too often separate Americans along racial lines.

At the beginning of the film we hear Dr. King, speaking in 1964, make what must have sounded at the time like a huge leap of faith: "I believe that the negroes of St. Augustine and their allies in the white community are determined to march the streets of the city until the walls of segregation come crumbling down."

Yet those brave souls, marching in a county where the KKK enjoyed open support, did indeed bring down the walls of segregation. Their determination to meet violence with non-violence, blacks arm-in-arm with whites, eventually forced the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. However, as the film documents, stark inequities remain, in the very place where people fought for equality forty years ago.

As one Orange County blogger pointed out, Dare Not Walk Alone is the film to see if you want to understand Where the Anger Comes From. It is also a film for those who want to understand how equality and justice can be best served by coming together and seeing eye-to-eye.

(And if enough people turn out to see the film in LA, the rest of America will get a chance to see it too.)

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