In honor of Black History Month, the Intercultural Center is hosting a multitude of events throughout the month of February.
Robert Benjamin, head of ENC’s Intercultural Affairs Department, hosted a screening of “Fruitvale Station” in Shrader Hall Feb. 9. The screening was one of many ways to pepper the calendar this month. Benjamin eagerly greeted people as they entered the lecture hall Tuesday evening.
The 7 p.m. screening had an attendance of less than ten people, but Benjamin reported that the 3 p.m. screening garnered a decent turnout. Although the movie might of been difficult for some to watch (since it’s entirely based on a true story), it highlights some important points for Benjamin.
“Fruitvale Station” tells the story of Oscar Grant, a reintegrated ex-convict who was wrongfully held down by a transit officer and needlessly shot in the back at point-blank range in a train station in California. Grant never became violent with the officers, and the man responsible for his homicide only served eleven months in prison for involuntary manslaughter.
According to Benjamin, the way “Fruitvale Station” deals with the reintegration of ex-convicts into civilian life is an essential story to tell, a story that is “less political and more human.” Michael B. Jordan, the actor who played Grant, offers a fully sympathetic portrayal of the real-life man. A loving father, a devoted son, and a loyal friend, the unfortunate snuffing out of a life turning itself around caused shock and indignation not only in the real world, but in the lecture hall on Tuesday. Once the movie had finished and the talkback commenced, Sophomore Christ Estep voiced his thoughts on the life cut short. Grant’s imprisonment, according to Estep, had little to do with his steps going forward and had absolutely nothing to do with Grant being shot.
“Oscar’s life wasn’t pointing toward what ultimately happened to him,” said Estep. “There were a million other possibilities for what could have happened.”
For Benjamin, one of the most important points to be taken from this film is in how people handle their personal prejudices. “People see all kinds of prejudice across society,” Benjamin said. “The difference is some people have lethal ways in which they show their prejudices.”
There are several events happening in February that will continue the celebration of Black History Month. On Thursday, February 11, ENC will show a documentary called “Black Power Mixtape,” while the storytelling event has been rescheduled for Feb. 22.