The St. Stephen’s Church and Society Committee invites you to participate in a movie discussion series focused on racial justice. Look below for our current schedule of online meeting dates, times and film discussion questions and a link to a sign up sheet. If you do not have access to the internet and would like to sign up for one of our scheduled film discussions, please call the church office at (703) 978-8724.
Discuss the documentary “13th” on July 13th with St. Stephen’s Church
When : Monday, July 13th at 8 p.m.
Where: Online on Zoom
What : A discussion on the documentary 13TH (available on Netflix and other video platforms). This documentary highlights racial inequalities and injustices throughout the history of the United States with a focus on the penal system.
Watch the film now at 13th on Netflix.
All registrants will receive Zoom meeting info no later than the morning of July 13.
Discussion Questions for “13th”
1. Before watching “13th“, jot down some images and terms that come to mind when you hear the word “prisoner.” After watching 13th, review your answers. How have your images changed?
2. Crack vs Cocaine- same drug (one powdered, one cooked) but used in different racial communities and carry different sentencing. Share how this contributed to mass incarceration.
3. Think about the power of media and the power of words (“super predator,” criminal”) and how they impact the perception and criminalization of people of color, both in the past and the present. Give current-day examples.
4. According to the documentary, President Clinton built the infrastructure for mass incarceration: mandatory minimums (taking the discretion away from judges), militarization of police (SWAT teams), 3-strikes law, and truth-in-sentencing laws (must serve 85% of sentence). Discuss the role of politics and crime and how it impacts our communities today.
These questions were adapted from Amy L. William’s study guide which can be found at https://prisoninstitute.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/13th-Film-Discussion-Guide_By-Amy-Williams-1.pdf
Tuesday, June 23rd at 8 pm: Discussion on the movie Just Mercy, starring Michael B. Jordan
We’re starting with this movie because it is available in June on several platforms including Amazon, Google Play, and YouTube. The movie is the true-story of Bryan Stevenson and his legal work defending individuals who were wrongly condemned. The focus of the movie is on his first, and most incendiary, case that of Walter McMillian who, in 1987, was sentenced to die for the murder of an 18-year-old girl, despite a preponderance of evidence proving his innocence and the fact that the only testimony against him came from a criminal with a motive to lie. The movie follows the labyrinth of legal and political maneuverings and racism they faced in working for justice.
How to Reach this meeting on Tuesday, June 23 :
Join Zoom Meeting by clicking on the following link
The Zoom entrance will open at 7:30 p.m. and the discussion about the film will begin at 8 p.m.
Zoom Meeting ID: 862 6841 0880
Zoom Meeting passcode: 215598
You can also join this meeting on your phone by dialing 1-301-715-8592 with the same meeting ID and passcode.
- In the film, during a conversation between Walter and Bryan, Walter says “In Alabama […] you’re guilty from the moment you’re born.” What do you think he meant by that statement? Is that changing? What can we each do to change that?
- How does this film influence your thinking about the death penalty? In what ways does your faith impact your thinking about the death penalty?
- Please share your ideas on what our church and our local community can be doing to reduce poverty and ensure justice? What can we as individuals do? What can our church do? What can we do in Burke/Fairfax/Annandale/Springfield?
- Bryan Stevenson stated that “the opposite of poverty is not wealth; the opposite of poverty is justice.” How do you see poverty affecting people’s lives in Just Mercy? How do you see justice, or a lack of justice affecting people’s lives in the movie?
- Did you find any examples of hope, resilience, or redemption in the film? Where?
- How does Stevenson’s countercultural understanding of vocation—God’s call on each of our lives—challenge us to reconsider how we define success? Dr. Martin Luther King also challenged us to reconsider how we define success when he said, “We are prone to judge success by the index of our salaries or the size of our automobiles rather than by the quality of our service and relationship to mankind.”
- What are some of the different meanings of the word “just” used throughout the movie? How does Micah 6:8 [And what does the Lordrequire of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God]use the word “justice” and what impact does this verse have in growing our faith and walk with God.