Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Movie with Abe: Parkland Rising

Parkland Rising
Directed by Cheryl Horner
Released June 5, 2020

There are issues that persist in society throughout history, coming into the news loudly at times and then fading from view after a certain amount of time passes. It often takes a personal experience to spur someone who was previously indifferent to action, or to make it so that they cannot turn away and move on once the majority of the public does. There are many things that shape and inspire people in this way, and to those who feel the pain caused by it most, it will always be something that is crucially and vitally important to keep talking about and amplifying.

When a gunman entered Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida on February 14th, 2018, killing seventeen people, the lives of those who were there and survived changed forever. Spurred to action, a group of students and grieving parents made it their mission to advocate for gun control and law reform to prevent tragic mass shootings like the one they experienced from happening again. Focused on news conferences and cross-country tours instead of summer camps and college applications, these young activists want to make their voices heard, fighting a culture that they believe values the second amendment rights of gun owners more than the lives of innocent people.

This is one of several documentary projects following the efforts of those from Parkland to create change in the wake of trauma, including “After Parkland.” This film focuses on the continued need for these activists to break down the difference between advocating for common sense gun safety laws and taking away guns from all owners, including some of their own families. Encounters with angry protesters who simply want to silence them are powerful and disturbing, and there is an important message about the prevalence of purposeful disinformation that is created to confuse and delegitimize a cause. It’s astounding to see what people are perfectly willing to do and say even when they know that those actions or opinions can be linked back to them.

This film is making its live streaming premiere tonight before beginning virtual screenings this Friday. It’s a time when school shootings are no longer in the news in large part because schools have mostly been closed as a result of another national crisis. Even more recently, another commonplace occurrence that can be prevented if people want to do the work to combat it has taken on the attention of most – the killing by police of yet another black person – making the timing of this film’s release feel less than immediately relevant. But its strong message of solidarity is one that effectively endures, as evidenced by the comments those speaking most loudly on behalf of these campaigners for change are making now about police brutality in the United States. Understanding the privilege they have and the megaphone they can use, they are choosing this moment to rally around another cause, fully aware that the only way to truly effect change is to fight not just for what feels most personal.


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