Search for justice links three-film Detroit Shoreway series on racial equity and inclusion

After participating in Cleveland Neighborhood ProgressRacial Equity and Inclusion training program, the Detroit Shoreway Community Development Organization board decided it needed to incorporate racial equity values into its programming.

So, three years ago, Detroit Shoreway introduced its first Racial Equity and Inclusion Film Series at the Capitol Theatre, 1396 West 65th St. in Gordon Square.

“The goal is to foster more community discussions and come to a greater understanding about racial equity and how it impacts our community,” says Josh Jones, Detroit Shoreway’s marketing director. After the screening of each film, viewers then gather at XYZ the Tavern, 6419 Detroit Ave., for discussion.

"Just Mercy" The series has been so popular that it’s become an annual event. “Attendance has been strong and has grown year after year,” Jones says. “The audience indicated it warranted a third year.”

The third Racial Equity and Inclusion Film Series will begin next week at the Capitol Theatre, with three films. The series is a collaboration between Detroit Shoreway and Cleveland Cinemas.

It starts Wednesday, March 11, with “Queen and Slim,” followed by “Always in Season” on Tuesday, April 14, and “Just Mercy,” running Wednesday, May 13. All three movies were released in 2019.

“Queen and Slim” tells the story of what happens when a couple is pulled over by a racist police officer while they are on their first date. Daniel Kaluuya stars as Slim, and Jodie Turner-Smith plays Queen. The cast includes Bokeem Woodbine, Chloe Sevigny, and Flea. The crime drama has won 10 awards, including the National Board of Review's award for best directorial debut, for Melina Matsoukas.

“Always in Season” is a documentary, narrated by Danny Glover, that follows the tragedy of African American teenager Lennon Lacy, found hanging from a swing, and his mother’s search for justice in our country’s history of lynching. The film has won eight awards, including a Special Jury Award at the Sundance Film Festival. It was nominated for an award at the 2019 Cleveland International Film Festival.

“Just Mercy” depicts the true story of renowned civil rights defense attorney Bryan Stevenson, who works to free a wrongly condemned death row prisoner. It stars Jamie Foxx, Michael B. Jordan, and Oscar-winner Brie Larson. The film has won seven awards, including the National Board of Review's Freedom of Expression Award. It has earned $48 million in box offices worldwide.

The “Always in Season” showing will include a special guest: Director, producer and co-writer Jacqueline Olive will attend both the screening and the discussion.

The discussions at XYZ the Tavern after these films are often quite intimate and moving, Jones says. “Some people shared their experiences growing up, some people share their experiences today,” he says. “It created an opportunity for people to be personal and share their personal experiences, if they want to, or sit back and listen to others.”

All discussions are guided by a moderator, Jones says, and both the movies and the discussions are great ways to open dialogues and meet new people. “It’s an opportunity to understand yourself and understand your neighbor a bit better,” he says.

Admission to each film is free, with a $5 suggested donation. Cost will not be a barrier to admission, Jones says. Each screening will take place at 6:30 p.m. at the Capitol Theatre. The discussions at XYZ The Tavern include free food and a cash bar.

Film series tickets are available in advance at the Capitol Theatre box office or online.

Read more articles by Karin Connelly Rice.

Karin Connelly Rice enjoys telling people's stories, whether it's a promising startup or a life's passion. Over the past 20 years she has reported on the local business community for publications such as Inside Business and Cleveland Magazine. She was editor of the Rocky River/Lakewood edition of In the Neighborhood and was a reporter and photographer for the Amherst News-Times. At Fresh Water she enjoys telling the stories of Clevelanders who are shaping and embracing the business and research climate in Cleveland.
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