Celebrating inclusive communities through film

Rosemary Anderson

Rainy fall days are best spent cozied up on the couch with family, passing bowls of popcorn down the cushions while a movie plays. From the comfort of our sofa we can travel to different galaxies, but movies also have the power to help us discover more about the people around us.

To celebrate September, Inclusive Communities Month, the Moscow Human Rights Commission has teamed up with the Latah County Library to highlight free online movies honoring inclusion and diversity. Normally the commission sponsors films at the Kenworthy Performing Arts Centre to recognize this month, but public group showings are not possible this year. The library stepped in to bridge the gap caused by pandemic restrictions.

Through Kanopy, a streaming service that partners with public libraries and universities, community members can watch several titles from a curated list of 13 movies, including 2017 Best Picture “Moonlight.” The service is free for Latah County Library cardholders. In addition to the special titles selected by the MHRC, Kanopy offers thousands of thoughtful and entertaining films.

The films selected for this community celebration include: “Broken on All Sides: Race, Mass Incarceration and New Visions for Criminal Justice”; “FRONTLINE: Growing Up Trans”; “In Whose Honor?”; “James Baldwin: the Price of the Ticket”; “The Last Black Man in San Francisco,”; “Miss Representation”; “Moonlight”; “More Than a Word”; “Papers: Stories by Undocumented Youth”; “People Like Us: Social Class in America”; “She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry”; “Tomboy”; and “White Like Me.”

The films in this list explore intersectionality and how it impacts our own identities and the society around us. Coined in 1989 by Professor Kimberlé Crenshaw, a lawyer, civil rights advocate, philosopher and leading scholar of critical race theory, intersectionality describes how our individual characteristics, like race, gender, sexual orientation and socioeconomic status “intersect” with one another and create different lived experiences for each of us. September may be coming to a close, but these titles will be available to stream throughout the year. Honoring inclusive communities should be a yearlong celebration.

Those wishing to participate will need a free Kanopy account. Visit kanopy.com, click on “Get Started,” then “Find Your Library.” From there you can log in or create your account. (If you previously held a Kanopy account through the Valnet consortium you must create a new account through the Latah County Library District’s subscription. In late July Valnet discontinued its Kanopy subscription, but the LCLD picked up the service for our patrons.)

Those who hold LCLD library cards but live outside of Latah County will be unable to use our Kanopy service, however, Kanopy is available to Neill Public Library and Whitman County Library patrons, and they are more than welcome to participate in this community celebration.

The Latah County Library will be partnering with the Moscow Human Rights Commission again in celebration of Indigenous Peoples’ Day, Oct. 12, providing patrons with resources to learn more about the tribes indigenous to Idaho. Resources will include further suggested Kanopy films, a curated list of audiobooks and e-books on our Overdrive app and an informative map and display in the Moscow Public Library.

Fall may be the best time to enjoy a movie on the couch, but it can also be a great time to learn more about our own identities and those of the people in our community.

Rosemary Anderson works at the Moscow Public Library.

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