Films For Tough Times (June)

“Juneteenth” is being honored on June 19th, based on the date which was celebrated to proclaim freedom for slaves in Texas in 1865.  The day was first recognized as a federal holiday in 2021, when Congress passed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act into law, and signed by President Biden.

Because we remain ignorant of our neighbor’s needs, especially African-American civil rights, the Mental Health Committee suggests the viewing of these two films, in order to encourage the spiritual practice of compassion-building.

Till (2022) is based on the true story of Mamie Till-Mobley’s relentless pursuit of justice for her 14-year-old son, Emmet Till.  He was brutally lynched in 1955 while visiting his cousins in Mississippi.

In Mamie’s poignant journey of grief turned to action, we see the universal power of a mother’s ability to change the world.  The film’s release coincided with the October 2022 unveiling of a statue in Emmet Till’s memory in Greenwood, Mississippi.

However, as late as 2019, people were putting bullet holes in a sign that marked the site of Till’s lynching.  The New York Times reported, “Emmet Till Memorial Has a New Sign.  This Time, It’s Bulletproof.”

The Emmet Till Anti-Lynching Act was passed by Congress and signed by President Biden on March 29, 2022, sixty-seven years after Emmet’s murder.

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The Best of Enemies (2019) is based on the true story at Durham, North Carolina, in 1971, about remarkable hope, daring, and vision.  Racial confrontations were addressed with a process (called a 10-day community charrette), where enemies are transformed into friends.

“In Christ’s family there can be no division into Jew and non-Jew, slave and free, male and female.  Among us, you are all equal.  That is, we are all in a common relationship with Jesus Christ.”​​….Galatians 3:28, The Message