“Beyond Black & White” Documentary Screened on National (Virtual) Stage

/ March 8, 2024

RARE’s documentary film, Roosevelt High School: Beyond Black and White, received exposure on a national (virtual) stage in February. The Funders Network reached out to RARE with an invitation to feature the film at an event for TFN’s member foundations.

The screening and moderated post-film panel discussion featured RHS: Beyond Black and White at TFN’s premiere of “Reel Change: A TFN Virtual Film Series”. The series showcases documentaries and short films that lift up issues our communities are grappling with, and resilient leaders at the forefront of positive change.

More than 25 foundations from across the country participated in the Feb 21 kick-off event. Viewers from Florida, New York, Colorado and other states learned about the efforts to desegregate Seattle’s public schools, the city’s history of discriminatory housing practices and its consequences which are still felt today.

“Each time I watch this film, I notice something different,” noted moderator Jonathan Cunningham, a TFN PLACES alum and Seattle’s 4Culture Deputy Director. It’s a sentiment echoed even by RARE founders, Board and committee members, exhorting viewers to share the resource with others!

RARE Board members Joe Hunter, Tony Allison and Jessamyn Reichmann offered reflections during the panel portion of the event. All acknowledged the challenges, failures and some successes of the past, but focused more on the current efforts and future plans of RARE’s programs to make a positive impact on racial equity. The Connections and Restorative Practice programs, currently in early stages of implementation, highlight the hope that change is possible.

A participant shared their surprise that Seattle’s school segregation issues are similar to those in Denver Public Schools, realizing that the challenges “are bigger than just a local community issue.” The question of “how to join forces and make changes?” was raised. RARE’s Jessamyn enthusiastically responded, “It’s important to work both at the individual school (and city) community level while also addressing the wider systemic national issues.”

Jonathan closed by asking panelists about their “takeaways.”

  • “The solution starts with individuals – and the appreciation of the value of being with others who are different from ourselves.” – Tony
  • “Race is a social construct.  Look at your own development. Be aware of opportunities for socialization and interaction. Be the light. Be led by science, information and JOY! It’s the secret sauce!”  – Jessamyn
  • “The film has opened up a lot of doors. We need to have courageous conversations, but you need to do the internal work and understand yourself. Act on this moment in time – take it into a movement! Most importantly, move forward and make a difference! DO SOMETHING! Don’t just talk!”  – Joe

The Funders Network (TFN) is a robust network of more than 130 foundations including place-based and community foundations as well as state, regional and national funders. Membership is open to grantmaking organizations in the U.S. and Canada. There are four TFN member foundations in Washington state.

RARE is grateful for the opportunity to be featured at TFN’s “Reel Change” virtual film series. The RARE team continues to seek out venues and organizations to share the documentary film and support courageous conversations about racial equity in nearby communities as well as those across the country!

The 30-minute film and all follow-up materials are available on demand and free of charge on RARE’s film page, though donations are gratefully accepted. If you screen the film or use the discussion or curriculum info, please let us know via our contact us page.