As a student, I am well acquainted with the phrase, “Knowledge is power.” However, I never truly understood the true meaning of this phrase until a few days ago, when we held our first Democracy Summer event. On Saturday morning, June 22, we held a film festival in the Forsyth County Public Library, “Justice Denied in Our House,” where we showed 4 short documentaries which highlight the top political issues in our state. It was rainy that day and a Saturday morning, so I did not expect that many people to show up; however, I was pleasantly surprised when over 40 people came out to discuss the films, money in politics and voting rights, and address how these issues are impacting their day to day life.
One of the films shown was a short documentary I co-produced and co-wrote for a class I took in school; the class was called, “Video for Social Change.” The video highlights the problems of money in politics. It addresses how the power of money in Raleigh renders North Carolinians “powerless” in policies that affect their daily lives. Following the showings of the film, a panel comprised of professors and community leaders answered questions from the audience.
Preparing for this event was a challenge: calling people one by one to get them to attend, setting up the event, and spreading the word through newspapers. However, seeing the passion of the people at this event, who truly wanted to get engaged and make a change in policies affecting their everyday lives, was inspiring and empowering. One section of the film I worked on is titled, “North Carolinians Confront the Challenge.” And while this particular section was aimed at the challenge of Money in Politics, I see how it is certainly relevant to other realms of policy. With Moral Mondays, with phone banking to save early voting and same day registration and with our film showing, North Carolinians are undoubtedly confronting the challenge of unjust policies in their state.
Shelby Armstrong – Triad Team