Contact: Debra Rubino
Screening and discussion of Cracking the Codes, a film by filmmaker and activist Shakti Butler, producer and director of acclaimed films focused on racial inequity.
7 p.m., Monday, October 6, 2014
Enoch Pratt Free Library
400 Cathedral Street, Baltimore
Race—more than any other demographic factor—determines levels of individual educational achievement, health and life expectancy, possibility of incarceration and wealth in the United States. Open Society Institute-Baltimore’s “Talking About Race” series has created a venue in Baltimore for these conversations, but the topic is still not something easily discussed.
Cracking the Codes: The System of Racial Inequity attempts to set the stage for transformation in classrooms, conference rooms and communities by exploring systemic factors that lead to racial inequity and giving individuals the opportunity to begin to talk about it.
In partnership with the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Baltimore Racial Justice Action and the YWCA Greater Baltimore, OSI-Baltimore is bringing Cracking the Codes to our city to spark a conversation about how racism continues to exist and how the fear and stereotypes behind racially based “codes” harm all of us.
Cracking the Codes features emotional stories from 23 racial justice leaders, as well as spoken word, art and theater. The moving combination of personal accounts, diverse voices and creativity help bring to the surface deep-rooted assumptions which undergird all of our beliefs and behaviors.
“When we talk about race, we often think about it as something that’s personal. ‘Am I a good person?’ ‘Am I doing the right thing?’ However, disparities and inequities actually function as a system,” says Butler, founder and creative director of World Trust, a nonprofit that uses the powerful combination of film, dialogue and transformative learning to create new understandings about race.
By contemplating and sharing the affecting stories in the film, filmmaker and racial justice educator Shakti Butler believes we can begin to bring about individual as well as systemic change.
YES! Magazine called Cracking the Codes “the most dignified and evidenced response possible to the assertion that we now live in a ‘post-racial’ America.” And after viewing the film in other cities, viewers say they left the theater “transformed.”
Throughout the screening, the audience will be engaged in dialogue with one another and with Butler, who will serve as the facilitator.
The free and open-to-the-public forum is a part of OSI-Baltimore’s “Talking About Race” series, co-sponsored by the Enoch Pratt Free Library. The series has been addressing race from different perspectives and exploring why it is important to discuss the topic openly and intelligently.
Oct. 27—Big Change Baltimore 2014
Back by popular demand, OSI-Baltimore is bringing back last year’s standing room only ideas-fest, Big Change Baltimore.The event will feature an afternoon of provocative speakers who will inform and challenge. Speakers include:
- Piper Kerman, author of Orange is the New Black, which inspired the award-winning original series for Netflix.
- Bill Keller, former executive editor of the New York Times, and now editor-in-chief of The Marshall Project, a nonprofit, non-partisan news organization focused on crime and punishment in the United States.
- Ian Haney López, one of the nation’s leading thinkers on how racism has evolved in the United States. In his most recent book, Dog Whistle Politics: How Coded Racial Appeals Have Reinvented Racism and Wrecked the Middle Class, Ian lays bare how conservative politicians exploit racial pandering to convince many voters to support policies that ultimately favor the very rich and hurt everyone else.
- Freeman A. Hrabowski, III, president of UMBC, one of the nation’s most prominent educators.
To learn more, visit bigchangebaltimore.org.
As the only field office for the Open Society Foundations’ U.S. Programs, Open Society Institute-Baltimore focuses on the root causes of three intertwined problems in our city and state: drug addiction, an overreliance on incarceration and obstacles that keep youth from succeeding both inside and outside the classroom. We also support a growing corps of social entrepreneurs committed to underserved populations in Baltimore. Before we make a single grant, we analyze the root causes of a problem and examine research and innovative practices aimed at tackling the problem. Because we aim for lasting, sustainable solutions, we engage public and private partners from the start. It is only then, with a clear picture of the problem, that we begin to focus our approach and diligently craft a road map for change.