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Our partners in Charlottesville worked hard to put together a powerful screening event in February. The aim of the screening and dialogue was to both publicize the work of UCARE and to engage the participation of community members in these plans by building upon the initiatives and resources already in place in the community. The filmmaker, Adam Zucker, attended to help the community make connections between local race-based concerns and the Greensboro story. Ultimately, UCARE hoped Greensboro: Closer to the Truth would help set the stage for action-oriented next-steps for a sustainable process of healing in Charlottesville.
The event organizers described the impact of the screening in helping to bring the University and local community together: “The film’s emphasis on addressing the ongoing consequences of past wounds served explicitly as an example and a catalyst for helping the groups work through what actions are appropriate for our local context.” How do we learn from the past and transition from a continuing legacy of slavery to a community of shared purpose? What does reconciliation look like for this community? What steps do we take as a community to address relevant concerns? These were a few of the questions the Charlottesville community also grappled with at this special event.
Meanwhile during the 2009 fall semester Greensboro: Closer to the Truth was shown in classes on campus. Professor Frank Dukes showed the film to his University Seminar “Righting Unrightable Wrongs.” The class followed up the screening with a rich discussion about reconciliation and social healing; the students’ reactions to it were understandably mixed. An opportunity to view the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) process this intimately prompted reflections from students about who could and/or should participate in such processes and why. Professor Dukes explained that the film was useful in getting students to think about the role of the various parties in the conflict on that day in November, 1979.