February 28th, 2013 will bring a day in which the Rockford community can unify within the Montague Branch of the Rockford Public Library and discuss civil issues that we habitually fight through, even in today’s world. Many of these issues have been rampant in conversations due to the release of a controversial movie: Django Unchained.
The movie, directed by Quentin Tarantino, has drawn massive amounts of criticism from other star directors, such as Spike Lee, who says he will never watch Django Unchained because he considers it disrespectful; words that Django star Jamie Foxx called ‘irresponsible’. The harsh realities of slavery and inhumane acts were made clear in Django, surely causing some in the community to feel uncomfortable.
The purpose of Django Unchained: A Community Discussion is to bring the Rockford community together to discuss some of the scenes from the movie that made us uncomfortable and also how these ideas still affect us today. An open-minded, mature group is expected and the event will be hosted by Christopher D. Sims, and co-facilitated by social activist and psychologist, Dr. Litesa Wallace. Everyone is welcome and encouraged to attend; positive thoughts and intriguing conversation will be taking place.
I spoke briefly with Mr. Sims about this community event, one that he has created a discussion guide for (click here to download), and put considerable thought and time into. He believes that all races in America are intelligent enough to understand what African-Americans had to experience during slavery, and feels that all human beings have the capacity to empathize with others and their experiences. Django Unchained has hit many viewers pretty hard, and the reality is that language and issues within the movie are still apparent in today’s society. “The N word is still hated, loved, or heavily debated”, Sims says. “What I have learned is that talking about such things as slavery, racism, inequality, and injustice is spiritual work. It brings people together on the deepest levels. We are trying to understand one another, or become closer to one another through sincere dialog and listening.”
A good point was made during our talk: One of our city’s co-founders was Lewis Lemon, a slave who had to buy his own freedom from his master. How similar were the struggles of Lewis and Django? Did Lewis also have to leave a wife or children behind when he came to the ‘rocky ford’?
Django Unchained: A Community Discussion will be hosted within the Montague branch of the Rockford Public Library (1238 S. Winnebago Street) on Thursday, February 28th, 2013 at 6:00PM. This is an open discussion, meaning that anyone is free to express their feelings. Respect, safety and peace will be granted.