FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: Cathy Renna, 917-757-6123, 

“FROM SELMA TO STONEWALL: ARE WE THERE YET?,” ACCLAIMED DOCUMENTARY ON LGBTQ AND CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENTS, TO SCREEN ACROSS NORTH CAROLINA

 (DURHAM, NC) – September 25, 2017 – From Selma to Stonewall: Are We There Yet?, an acclaimed documentary exploring the complex relationship between the LGBTQ rights movement and the Black civil rights movement, will screen in cities across North Carolina in October, including Raleigh, Durham, Charlotte, and Wilmington. Prior to the North Carolina tour, the film’s producers will have been in Selma, Alabama, speaking to and marching with the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus.

Directed by author and LGBTQ activist Marilyn Bennett, and executive produced by lifelong Civil Rights activist Gilbert Caldwell, From Selma to Stonewall is an exploration of the similarities, differences, and conflicts between the Black civil rights and LGBTQ rights movements. This 60-minute documentary follows Caldwell, a Black, straight preacher, and Bennett, a white lesbian activist, as they seek to find the intersection between these two movements.

Each screening of the documentary will be accompanied by a panel featuring Bennett, Caldwell, and additional guests to be announced.

“I look forward to our upcoming screenings and discussion in North Carolina; they could not be more timely or needed,” said Rev. Gil Caldwell, a principal voice in From Selma to Stonewall: Are We There Yet?. “In the early 1950’s, I was rejected by Duke University Divinity School because of practiced segregation. More recently, we saw the divisions created by the anti-LGBTQ legislation HB2, and continued racial unrest throughout the country in an increasingly hostile environment. They say you “cannot go home,’ but my hope and prayer is that I can indeed return to North Carolina to foster discussion, reduce divisions and promote healing for our diverse communities. As a heterosexual, African-American preacher, I have learned so much in our journey with this film, and I believe North Carolinians will welcome a discussion of the issues we address and work to find ways to build bridges in their local communities, ” concluded Caldwell.

Said Jimmy Creech, activist for LGBTQ inclusion in faith communities: “Marilyn and Gil, drawing on their histories as veteran civil and human rights advocates, are the perfect ones to tell this story of the intersection of racism, sexism, heterosexism and religion in both movements. I’m delighted that people in North Carolina will have the chance to not only see this story unfold on screen, but to meet and engage with its creators.”

Said Barbara Lau, director of the Pauli Murray Project, Duke Human Rights Center at FHI: “Pauli Murray believed that human rights are indivisible. From Selma to Stonewall makes such important connections between the movements for civil rights and LGBTQ rights, connections Pauli Murray would wholeheartedly support. We are excited about amplifying this important conversation in Durham and at Duke by hosting both the film and its directors.”

“There was never a better time to have this play in our city.  So much of the tension and racial mistrust in Charlotte is reinforced by flawed interpretation of holy text and the fear it produces,” said Bishop Tonyia Rawls, Pastor at Charlotte’s Sacred Souls Community Church, UCC.

The current schedule for the NC tour is below. Additional details will be finalized in the near future; contact Cathy Renna (917-757-6123, ) for further information.

October 17Raleigh, Fairmont UMC7-9 PM

October 18: Durham, Duke University, Ahmadieh Family Lecture Hall, 7 PM

October 19: Charlotte, Temple Beth El, 5:30 PM

October 20: Wilmington, UNCW, McNeil Hall, 7 PM

 

More About From Selma to Stonewall: Are We There Yet?

The two main characters in From Selma to Stonewall: Are We There Yet?  are the Rev. Gil Caldwell and Marilyn Bennett. He is a black, straight 82-year old retired United Methodist pastor, Civil Rights foot soldier, and colleague of Martin Luther King. She is a white, lesbian 54-year old author, activist, and national organizer. They met while working to change the anti-LGBTQ policies of the United Methodist Church at the denomination’s 2000 General Conference in Cleveland, Ohio. They bonded when they were arrested together in an act of nonviolent civil disobedience. As their unique friendship grew, known to each other as Elder Brother and Younger Sister, they forged a commitment to finding ways to build bridges across the divide of their different communities and experiences.

The church was integral to the Civil Rights Movement but has historically been at odds with the LGBTQ Equality Movement. The story begins with these historic movements only to be brought into today’s struggles of racial injustice, police brutality, Trans antagonism and deaths, and queer homeless youth. The brutality and demonstrations in Selma and Stonewall serve to shed light on the acute injustice issues of today. The answer to the question, “Are we there yet?” is a resounding, “NO!” Yet, that has not stopped the multitudes of people still working towards a just society.

The story follows the two of them as they explore the Civil Rights Movement through the eyes of Gil as they return to Selma where he marched with King in the Selma to Montgomery March. Gil had not been back to Selma since that day. They also go to the New York City West Village bar, the Stonewall Inn, to reconstruct the first night of the Stonewall Uprising, thought to be the beginning of the LGBTQ Equality Movement. The role of religion varies for each movement and the story does not shy away from the difference.

On their journey, Marilyn and Gil discover that the comparison of the two historic movements only serves to build competition and not collaboration. They also find that they have created a false dichotomy: the LGBTQ and black communities are not mutually exclusive; there are those who live in both communities, in the intersection. The voices of these black LGBTQ people often go unheard or aren’t even recognized in each separate community, though they actually hold the wisdom of how to bring everyone to the table to find united solutions for today’s injustices.

By the third and longest act, the film unfolds into the stories of primarily black and brown LGBTQ people who bring activist experience, faith and determination, theological discourse, organizing skills, and a sense of hope to shine a light on the future. It is in this intersection where we find the revolution for change.