Racial Justice Movie Club
Raising Awareness of Racial Justice
Questions? Email Becky Clausen, Racial Justice Book Club facilitator.
Weds., May 5, 7 p.m.
Cooked: Survival by Zip Code
In the summer of 1995, Chicago experienced an unthinkable disaster, when extremely high humidity and a layer of heat-retaining pollution drove the heat index up to more than 126 degrees. Judith Helfand’s Cooked: Survival by Zip Code tells the story of this tragic heatwave, the most traumatic in U.S. history, in which 739 citizens died over the course of just a single week, most of them poor, elderly, and African American. Cooked shines a light on the issues of poverty, race, class, and education that underlie how natural disasters take lives. Helfand’s main thesis is that we should reconsider how we define the word “disaster” to encompass the issues that face a community before a heat wave or hurricane hits it.
Weds., June 2, 7 p.m.
Dr. Rhea Boyd on “Pandemics + Policing + Protest”
Pediatrician and public health advocate Rhea W. Boyd, MD, MPH, talks about the ways in which racism impacts health and why protest is a profound public health intervention. She also discusses the racial disparities emerging during the U.S. COVID-19 pandemic and the racial disparities evidenced by disproportionate police violence within the broader history of racism in the United States.
Participants should watch the video prior to the June 2 discussion. Watch “Pandemics + Policing + Protest” on Youtube here.
Weds., July 7, 7 p.m.
Walter Johnson discusses his book, The Broken Heart of America: St Louis and the Violent History of the United States
Harvard Professor, author and native Missourian Walter Johnson’s The Broken Heart of America: St. Louis and the Violent History of the United States, is a study of St. Louis, its hinterlands, and its victims over centuries. Johnson gives a searing portrait of the racial dynamics that lie inescapably at the heart of our nation, told through the turbulent history of the city of St. Louis. According to Johnson, St Louis exemplifies how imperialism, racism, and capitalism have persistently entwined to corrupt the nation’s past and future. The book represents a triumph in pulling together the stories of settler violence and racism that had traditionally eluded historians. Johnson’s insistence on rooting today’s racism in yesterday’s conquest of indigenous people and enslavement of kidnapped people from Africa makes The Broken Heart of America a book for our times.
Participants should watch the video prior to the July 7 discussion. Watch Walter Johnson discussion of his book, The Broken Heart of America: St Louis and the Violent History of the United States, on Youtube here.