LCC hosts annual Take A Stand! Sit In! - The Lookout - LCC's Independent Student Newspaper Since 1959
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LCC hosts annual Take A Stand! Sit In!

Take A Stand

abby cowels

By Abby Cowels
Staff Writer

LCC hosted its fourth Take a Stand! Sit In! event on April 10 and 11.

Each year LCC brings awareness to relevant issues surrounding social and racial injustices in the U.S. For this event, LCC partnered with the Capital City Film Festival to show four films for this year’s topic, “Investigating Incarceration: Artists and Activists for Healing and Reform.”

Academic and Arts Outreach Coordinator Melissa Kaplan explained the event in more detail.

“LCC faculty and staff, guest staff and community leaders take a stand on social justice/racial injustice issues they’re teaching, researching and working on, and attendees ‘sit in’ to learn, to discuss, and to discover their own path to action,” Kaplan said.

The two-day event featured films including “Through Our Eyes” directed by Geeta Gandbhir and Rudy Valdez; “Holding Bodies: A Justice Anthology, Episodes 1 & 2 from filmmakers Milo Daemgen, Alex P Wilson, Cassandra Rumping and Audrey Rosenberg; and “The First Bluebird in the Morning,” composed by Carlos Simon, featuring verses by Sandra Seaton and created by director and choreographer Jamar Roberts.

“Our goals include interdisciplinary learning for LCC students around these issues, and connecting with the Lansing community, all to prompt greater awareness of and greater participation in local concerns of equity and justice,” Kaplan said.

The films were followed with an open discussion with directors and writers, highlighting the importance of discourse when it comes to such sensitive topics such as racial injustices within the American prison system.

“The Sentence” (2018) wrapped up the event Thursday evening. An award-winning full-length documentary by Rudy Valdez, the movie follows the wrongful incarceration of Cindy Shank, mother of three, and her journey to fight for the freedom to be with her daughters, Autumn (4), Ava (2) and Annalise (6 weeks) again.

“I was standing before the judge waiting for my sentencing, and I could hear Autumn and Ava outside the courtroom doors,” Cindy Shank stated in the movie. “I could literally hear them giggling and laughing over the murmur of the judges.”

Learning that one can be charged with the crimes of their partner is an unsettling thought. In “The Sentence,” that is how Shank ended up with her 15-year sentence; for living with a man who dealt drugs, despite having no involvement.

It not only cost Shank years of her life, but it took a caring mother away from her children who struggle without her presence.

“I remember she always used to play with me, and used to comb my hair,” the now 7-year-old Ava stated when reminiscing about when her mother was still at home.

Experiencing this film as part of this festival was heartrending. Those who were not able to catch it, can find it on MAX, or on various other streaming platform.

For more information on Take a Stand! Sit In! visit here, and on the Capital City Film Festival here.



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