Showing the Dialogue Film Trailer to a College Class

March 2, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


From a reader:

A supportive prof at a college asked me to come show his class the trailer for the upcoming film of the Cornel West-BA Dialogue. He left me about 15 minutes at the end of class. Many of the students already knew about Cornel and the whole class had just been discussing a piece on by Ardea Skybreak when I walked in. Plus they had talked about April 14th/Shut It Down! the week before and a number of students had signed up to be part of it.

Watch the trailer here

I briefly reviewed who Cornel and BA are. Then I said a few words about the crossroads we face right now—whether the inspiring upsurge of struggle ignited by the defiant ones in Ferguson and then taken further by youth all across the country—was that going to be crammed back down people’s throats or was it going to take a big leap forward with April 14-Shut It Down? Is resistance going to spread and intensify against the war on women, immigrants, and the environment? The people running this system hate the awakening that has begun and they are determined to crush it. I stressed to the students that it was in their hands to make sure that the rulers’ plans do not succeed.

Then I told them about Cornel West speaking recently at a progressive, mainly Black church. He drew deeply from Black history to passionately challenge people to act in the face of injustice—both those done to Black people but also those done to people everywhere. At the end, there was a call for people to come up to the front of the church who were willing to put their lives on the line to fight for justice. Well over 100 people came forward, revolutionaries among them. Almost everyone at this event had gotten information about both the upcoming film of the Dialogue and the call for A/14. Afterward, in talking with people about why they had stepped forward, one thing was clear. When you say I am willing to die to end injustice, then you come right up against the question of “OK, how are you going to end it?” And that’s where the Dialogue comes in.

That was my intro to the trailer. The 25 or so students were riveted. When it finished there was silence for a few moments. I asked for people’s thoughts. A young woman said that she was just so moved. Here were two people who disagreed about important things, but who agreed about even more important things and treated each other with such respect. This is just so rare in the world today. Another young woman echoed the same sentiment and stressed what a needed example this is and that she was definitely coming to the film. Another person contrasted how Cornel and BA related to each other with the way politicians try to rip each other’s throats out. This led to a brief discussion of how Cornel and BA’s determination to end all oppression was the basis for their mutual respect—while the political leaders of this system feast off that oppression and that is reflected in everything they do.

I passed around a stack of fliers for the premiere and a sign-up sheet for those who wanted to get involved in making this a really big deal. Thirteen of the students signed up. I also introduced the class to another student (from the prof’s class last fall) who had been to the Dialogue and wanted to work on publicizing the premiere. She connected with a student from this class who is studying media and they started sharing ideas about how they could spread the word for this premiere. They also want to be in touch with the national effort to publicize the film because they have ideas about how to create YouTubes and other social media that will grab the youth

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