MTU festival encourages students, community to hold open conversations about race through film

Copper Country

HOUGHTON, Mich. (WJMN) – A sociology professor at Michigan Technological University (MTU) is encouraging students and the community to talk about race through film.

‘Reckoning with Race’ is a free virtual film festival hosted by “Introduction to Sociology” students, a class taught by Richelle Winkler, a sociology and demography professor at MTU.

“We decided to host a film festival in the sociology class this semester on ‘Reckoning with Race’ in response to some of the rising awareness of racial tensions that we’ve experienced across this country this year,” said Winkler. “In hoping students and the broader community to just have a space to think about and talk about some of those issues and learn from different perspectives. I think film, in particular, is a good opportunity where we can allow people to tell their stories and start to relate to folks in maybe a different way that feels more real and personal.”

Eleven films of different genres were chosen by the students, such as Get Out, Hidden Figures, and 13th. Kate Bridges, a student in the class, and her group chose Dark Girls, a documentary that focuses on colorism among women and girls of color.

“I think, personally, I was very naive to a lot that goes on in the world,” said Bridges. “Being so young and not really having any experiences or seeing things or where I’m from, the community. So, I think this class has really helped bring awareness to issues that now I’m more sensitive to and want to learn more about. So it was definitely different but, I think it was, it’s been great and I think I’ve learned more than I could have ever imagined.”

If you are interested in participating, students will be hosting live online discussion sessions using Zoom between November 17 and December 6, 2020. Each film will have a designated time/day throughout that time period. Community members are asked to watch the film before the discussion. Most films are available on streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime.

For the full list of films and access links to the live online discussions, click here.

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