The Wilmington Jewish Film Festival brought a new conversation to our area with the virtual screening of Shared Legacies and the subsequent panel discussion consisting of:
Dr. Shari Rogers – filmmaker
Rabbi Emily Losben-Ostrov – Temple of Israel spiritual leader
Rev. Clifford Barnett - Warner Temple AME Zion Church pastor
Ms. Deborah Dicks Maxwell – New Hanover County president NAACP
Panel Moderated by Dr. Jarrod Tanny – UNCW Associate Professor
The NAACP and the ADL (Anti-Defamation League) were both founded at the beginning of the last century as a result of the oppression incurred by their constituencies. African Americans and Jews formed a coalition to fight for the civil rights of all Americans and were very active with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Representative John Lewis and Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel during the 1960s. The documentary, Shared Legacies, tells the story of that seldom known history and brings us up to the current day.
The panel discussion held after the screening was thought provoking and laid out specific actions that can be taken here in the Wilmington area. The participants all agreed that our students and wider communities need to be better educated about their history. Rev. Barnett suggested a webinar on the film with college students which Dr. Tanny said he would be a part of a collaboration at UNCW. Dr. Tanny already has campus organizations in mind and has reached out to other scholars. Due to the opening of fall classes and Covid-19 precautions, events are delayed. Once classes are running smoothly, work can resume additional screenings and discussions.
Dr. Rogers agreed to participate in furthering the discussion and also suggested students may wish to become involved in Spill The Honey’s youth ambassador program which is part of her foundation. Additional screenings were discussed as were more panels and webinars. Ms. Maxwell has volunteered to assist with UNCW and has recommended bringing in the School of Social Work at UNCW into the conversation. Rabbi Losben-Ostrov, a social justice advocate is in full support and proposed a video of herself, Rev. Barnett and Ms. Maxwell highlighting many of the topics discussed.
At the culmination of the discussion, all participants thought education needed to be brought to our communities, especially to our youth. They each committed to participating in future screenings and discussions.