Transformation through Discussion

Thursday, March 09, 2017

Wildwood Film

Contributor: Josh Dukelow, host of the local news talk show "Fresh Take" on WHBY

Over the past year, an important question has been on the minds of leaders in the Fox Cities: What is life like for black residents here? Leaders are seeking to better understand how to make our community more welcoming to African-American students, families, and professionals.
 
Seeing an opportunity to help highlights these issues, I worked with organizers of the Wildwood Film Festival to program a Friday Feature. I will host a town hall-style event from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. on Friday March 10 at the Performing Arts Center (400 W College Ave, Appleton), before the screening of the movie "Halfway" at 8:00 p.m. The movie, starring Quinten Aaron (Sandra Bullock's co-star from The Blind Side), portrays the life of a black man just out of prison, working on a farm in rural WI. It is compelling and has already won plaudits at other festivals.
 
The Fresh Take Town Hall on Race and Recidivism will feature storytelling, panel discussions, and a Q&A session that includes local experts as well as members of the audience. Everyone is welcome to attend and participate in the town hall. I hope everyone will also come back to view the film later that evening; it really is a package experience. The town hall is free, but those with tickets to the Friday Feature will get priority admission to the event.
 
The town hall has attracted new sponsors to the Wildwood Film Festival: United Way Fox Cities, Pulse Young Professionals Network, ThedaCare, the City of Appleton, Lawrence University and WHBY are all on board to present this important community conversation.
 
I know talking about difficult issues through art makes topics more approachable. I have seen the possibility of transformation through discussion. That’s what my show is all about! Now we can do that face-to-face, to learn from those who are different from us, who might hold different beliefs and have different life experiences. This can be a powerful tool to make our community more welcoming and inclusive, and that benefits everyone.
 
Tickets to the Friday Feature are available at wildwoodfilmfestival.com.