Saturday, February 25
2:30 – 5:30pm
During African American Heritage Month, the African American Circle is inviting everyone in our community to come watch a movie and participate in a discussion. This is an opportunity to see from a different vantage point, to have a safe place where we can have difficult conversations about some uncomfortable topics relating to our experience of movements, like Black Panthers and the current Black Lives Matter. We can go beyond mainstream media hype, that can sometimes offer a skew to the relevancy behind the vision of such movements.
It was 50 years ago that the Black Panther Party, originally the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense, was formed in Oakland, California by Bobby Seale and Huey Newton. The Black Panther Party organized armed citizens’ patrols to monitor the behavior of local police and to challenge police brutality in Oakland. As detailed in Stanley Nelson’s film The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution, within a few years social initiatives like the Free Breakfast for Children Program and community health clinics became part of the Panthers’ fabric as well, but the Party remained a target of the FBI and the police until it collapsed in the early 1980s.
Today, police violence toward African Americans, made visible to the wider public through social media, has once again led to the rise of organized resistance efforts — in particular Black Lives Matter — fueled by passionate young people demanding action. Can you distinguish the Black Lives Matter demands of today from the grievances of the Panthers half a century ago?