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Welcome to the 2015 Human Rights Film Series

Oppression

Now dreams
Are not available
To the dreamers,
Nor songs
To the singers.

In some lands
Dark night
And cold steel
Prevail--
But the dream
Will come back,
And the song
Break
Its jail.

- Langston Hughes, The Panther & the Lash (1967)

These elegant words of the great American poet Langston Hughes were penned more than 50 years ago, published in a collection subtitled "Poems of Our Times." Yet they remain as fresh and meaningful as ever, and capture in a few poignant images both the sense of oppression and prayer of hope that underscore the great human rights issues of our own times.

Indeed, they echo the clarion cry of the oppressed around the world, and in our own neighborhoods, for their dreams to be realized, their songs to be sung,

The goal of the University's eighth annual Human Rights film Series is, in our own small way, to give voice to the oppressed of the world via a collection of recent, award-winning documentaries that focus on some of the most appalling abuses of human rights today, issues that have dominated world headlines in our times. Fittingly, in light of the storm of controversy surrounding recent events in Ferguson, Missouri, we begin our series with White Like Me, a no-holds-barred look at white privilege and racial profiling in our society, followed by Power and Control, a powerful documentary about the issues of domestic violence, which has grabbed the attention of the entire nation as a result of the recent scandals in the NFL.

With the film Fed Up, we turn to another alarming abuse of human rights. one that has already proven to be very costly in terms of the health of our nation--namely, the obesity epidemic in our society resulting from the conspiratorial actions of the processed food industry and government regulators. Not My Life is a harrowing examination of human trafficking and slavery in the 21st century, including in the United States, while Fourth World is a sobering, eye-opening look into the lives of one-sixth of the world's population who live in deplorable slums, woefully oppressed and largely forgotten by the affluent developed nations.

We conclude our series with a challenge, a challenge to each of you, as students and so-called millennials, and to the rest of us, as faculty and citizens, comfortable in our lives and careers. The film #ReGENERATION explores the alleged apathy of young people today. Unlike the politically charged generations of the past, who helped bring about great social changes-in equal rights, the environment, and against unjust wars, the film alleges that today's youth appear not to care about such matters. Instead, as a result of video games, television and social media, they tend to be soft, indifferent and passive consumers of a materialistic lifestyle. We hope this portrayal of today's young generation will inflame you and compel you to act, to make a difference, to seize upon an issue, any issue that is oppressing a group of people, or a single person. We hope it will mobilize you to turn oppression into opportunity. Let us show the world that we as a community care about...and want to do whatever we can to help the song of the oppressed break its jail.

Edith Krause, Ph. D.
Karl J. Skutski, M. A.
Mark Frisch, Ph. D.
Mary Ann Hess, M.A.

2015 Duquesne University Human Rights Film Series Committee

 
Contact:  mailto:krausee@duq.edu