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Community Read continues in October

Posted 09/22/14

Fitchburg State University continues its year-long Community Read of The New Jim Crow with a series of film screenings and discussions in October.

In the Community Read, Fitchburg State faculty and staff will join with experts and artists from this region and beyond to explore the issues raised in legal scholar Michelle Alexander’s controversial book about race and justice. The public is invited to add their voices to the conversation as the university seeks to create community through communication.

Fitchburg State will host a screening of the celebrated documentary The House I Live In on Wednesday, Oct. 1 at 3:30 p.m. in Ellis White Lecture Hall in Hammond Hall, 160 Pearl St. From the dealer to the narcotics officer, the inmate to the federal judge, this penetrating look inside America’s criminal justice system reveals the profound human rights implications of U.S. drug policy. Admission is free and refreshments will be served.

On Wednesday, Oct. 8 at 3:30 p.m. in Ellis White Lecture Hall in Hammond Hall, Massachusetts Parole Board Deputy Chief Parole Supervisor Lisa Redmond, a Fitchburg State alumna, will present a lecture on changes to mandatory drug sentences and criminal offender records laws. Admission is free and a reception will follow.

The work of award-winning photographer Lou Jones will be presented at the media wall in Conlon Hall, 316 Highland Ave., when "Final Exposure: Portraits from Death Row" is presented from Thursday, Oct. 9 through Wednesday, Nov. 12. Jones combines powerful images of death row inmates with revealing interviews and commentary in this extraordinary volume. These portraits and voices humanize the condemned men and women without minimizing the magnitude of their crimes or the pain of the victims and their families. Together, they open one’s eyes to the chilling reality of death row and challenge readers to question the morality of capital punishment. Jones will discuss the work on Wednesday, Oct. 15 at 3:30 p.m. at Conlon Hall. Admission is free and refreshments will be served.

The Third Thursday film series, bridging the campus and the city, continues Thursday, Oct. 16 at 4 p.m. at the Fitchburg Public Library, 610 Main St., with a screening of Nothing But a Man (1964). The story focuses on a black couple – a railroad worker and a teacher – starting a new life together in a racist Southern town. The film will be introduced by former Fitchburg State librarian Mark Melchior, who will also lead a post-screening discussion. Admission is free.

On Tuesday, Oct. 28 at 5:30 p.m., the Fitchburg Public Library at 610 Main St. will feature a community book discussion of The New Jim Crow. The discussion will be led by Fitchburg State criminal justice faculty member Marcel Beausoleil. Admission is free.

The series continues in the spring on a lighter note with a performance by comedian W. Kamau Bell on Thursday, Feb. 26 at 8 p.m. in Kent Recital Hall in the Conlon Fine Arts Building, 367 North St. Just like skinny jeans, superhero movies and celebrity weight loss, racism continues to make a comeback.  Comedian W. Kamau Bell is here to make (non)sense of all of it all.  The W. Kamau Bell Curve: Ending Racism in About an Hour is a hilarious exploration of the current state of America’s racism, combined with a little (unknown) history, a little PowerPoint and a whole bunch of Kamau.  The Curve is a seamless mix of stand-up comedy, video and audio clips, personal stories and solo theatrical performance. One part manifesto, one part diatribe and several parts funny, this evening is sure to provide laughs and provoke thought. Be advised, the performance features mature comment. Tickets are $25 for adults, $20 for seniors, Fitchburg State alumni and free for Fitchburg State students and can be purchased at the Weston Box Office, 333 North St., which is open Thursday and Friday from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. Tickets can also be ordered online by visiting fitchburgstate.edu/centerstage.

The Community Read is sponsored by the university’s Carl T. Witherell ’32 Fund.

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