Listening Deeply

There is so much going on in the world one can find it challenging to process it all. The news can leave us feeling enraged, fearful, heartbroken and depressed.

Everyone has their own way of dealing with social melt-down and volatility. However, if real change is to occur, this cannot be another uprising of emotion brought about by endless tragic news cycles. Social media posting or expressing indignation only goes so far. It is our responsibility to educate ourselves, learn what we can do to be better allies, and strengthen the globally-connected movement for unity and peace. 

In honor of George Floyd and countless others, we stand in solidarity – united with our black brothers and sisters to end the traumatic systems of oppression they have faced for far too long. We also stand with an array of groups and organizations doing vital peace, environmental and economic justice work and recognize the voice of “We the People” that is being heard around the world.

The human mind is wired to have biases — and plenty of them. It is our task to break the cycles of violence by exploring our biases and by deeply listening and learning. If we work at consciously acknowledging and overriding our biases, it is a step in the right direction towards understanding and empathizing with others. This is where true change happens.

The Latin definition for compassion is “to suffer together.” Now is the time to channel our grief and outrage into regenerative action — the healing of hearts and the rebuilding of our communities. This is where we can show up in relational gatherings — to hold space for understanding and the sharing of how we really feel.

Films for the Planet’s parent nonprofit organization, Compathos, is all about “pathos” — the story that evokes empathy and inspires action. We believe that change happens when people are inspired by examples of a better path – by everyday heroes who bring us closer to our ideals. To that end, we are sharing a curated list of films on the black experience in America. Some are FREE during the month of June, others have free learning and conversation guides.

Many of these films are experiencing increased viewership as people seek out socially-relevant content amidst the global protests. According to IndieWire, “A new report from data firm Parrot Analytics noted that U.S. demand for “Dear White People” grew 329 percent during global protests in June 2020,  while “When They See Us” was up 147 percent compared to the previous week. The third season of “Dear White People” and Ava DuVernay’s “When They See Us” miniseries premiered in mid-2019.

Additional Considerations

Streaming on the Criterion Channel

Julie Dash’s “Daughters of the Dust”
Maya Angelou’s “Down in the Delta”
Shirley Clarke’s “Portrait of Jason”
Agnès Varda’s “Black Panthers”
Kathleen Collins’ “Losing Ground”


Other Notable Mentions

Oscar-winning Drama – Moonlight by Barry Jenkins
Dee Rees Drama – Mudbound
TV Show – Orange Is the New Black
Documentary Series – They’ve Gotta Have Us
Daniel Lindsay & T. J. Martin Documentary – LA 92
Kerry Washington Documentary – American Son 
Spike Lee’s New Vietnam Movie – Da 5 Bloods

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