The City of West Hollywood’s Human Rights Speakers Series will present a screening of the thought-provoking documentary 13th, followed by a panel discussion about racial inequality and the disproportionate rates of imprisonment of African American people in the United States. The event will take place on Thursday, September 7, 2017 from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the Pacific Design Center’s Silver Screen Theater, located at 8687 Melrose Avenue.
“West Hollywood’s Human Rights Speakers Series brings together a diverse cross-section of people in our community to focus on important global, national, and local human rights issues,” said City of West Hollywood Mayor John Heilman. “Racial inequality and unequal rates of imprisonment have remained terrible realities in our country and in our justice system. We must confront and discuss racism and its impacts, and we must fight for fundamental principles of equality and justice.”
“The City of West Hollywood has always stood for equality and respect for all people,” said Councilmember Lindsey P. Horvath, “Now, given that our current President and his administration have demonstrated that they are not only willing to excuse racists, but actually encourage police violence, it’s more important than ever that communities take a stand against fear, hatred, and divisiveness. We all have an important role to play in eliminating racism and reforming our criminal justice system.”
13th is director Ava DuVernay’s (Selma) exploration of the history of racial inequality in the United States. The film’s title refers to the 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution, which abolished slavery and involuntary servitude, “except as a punishment for crime.” The documentary’s message is that this clause has resulted in the continuation of slavery through criminalizing the behavior of African American people and enabling police to arrest them and force them to work for the state via the prison-industrial complex.
The screening will be followed by a panel discussion moderated by Dr. Melina Abdullah, Professor and Chair of Pan-African Studies at California State University, Los Angeles and Organizer, Black Lives Matter Los Angeles. Guest speakers will include:
Tyree Boyd-Pates, History Curator and Program Manager at the California African American Museum;
Susan Burton, Founder and Executive Director of A New Way of Life Reentry Project;
Patrisse Cullors, Co-Founder of Black Lives Matter;
Christopher Jackson, Community Activist;
Janaya Khan, Co-Founder of Black Lives Matter Canada; and
Bamby Salcedo, President and CEO of [email protected] Coalition.
The program will conclude with a reception and a call to action. Refreshments will be served. The event is free and open to the public. RSVPs are requested by visiting www.wehohrss13th.eventbrite.com or by calling (323) 848-6823.
Attendees are encouraged to amplify the discussion by tweeting with the hashtag #wehohrss.
For additional information about the City of West Hollywood’s Human Rights Speakers Series, please visit www.weho.org/hrss.