MLK Day of Service Part II: The Discussion

7 Feb

If you want to read about how Public Allies DC spent the morning of our day of service in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., check out my previous blog entry.

After our morning spent marching  parade, we transitioned from the frigid outdoors into the Salvation Army building in historic Anacostia to host a film screening and community discussion.  The event brought filmmakers together with allies in an ally-facilitated discussion of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy in communities around the country.

The film, called the MLK Streets project, is a collaboration between local filmmakers and DC Public High School students.  Together, they traveled around the country to over a dozen different streets named for Dr. King and interviews people about what life is like in that neighborhood.  The project was inspired by a very famous Chris Rock bit, in which he  notes the irony in the fact that streets named after Dr. King are often marked by violence:

You know what’s wild? Martin Luther King stood for nonviolence. Now what’s Martin Luther King? A street. And I don’t give a [expletive] where you at in America, if you on Martin Luther King Boulevard, there’s some violence going down.

Despite the fact that Rock makes light of this pattern, the filmmakers were interested in the grain of truth behind the joke.  There are hundreds of streets in America named after Dr. King and nearly all of them run through black communities overrun by poverty and violence.  Why is it, then, that the namesake streets of a man who dedicated his life to peace and alleviation of poverty never reflect his vision for a brighter future?

After viewing the film, a group of allies initiated discussion with special guests, including co-producers of the film and one of my fellow allies who talked about attending school just off of DC’s Martin Luther King Avenue.

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One Response to “MLK Day of Service Part II: The Discussion”

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  1. Stuff People Say About “The MLK Streets Project” | Ally Snapshots - February 8, 2012

    […] Posted on February 8, 2012 by Ariel Earlier this week I wrote a short entry about a documentary screening hosted by Public Allies DC on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.  Since […]

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