The Right to Marry - June 05, 2014

Summertime

Alice Hu

Pardon me for the undescriptive title, but the creative juices are not flowing properly enough today for a witty headline...anyhow, here's a quick update on the project:

We have started our summer reading assignment with a new team of interns! (See, the title did have a little to do with the blog.) Some of our team members are seasoned, some worked with the Right to Marry project last year too, but many are first-timers. In my (probably biased) opinion (as someone who worked on the post-production phase of a project for two years before starting the R2M project), there aren't many things I can think of that capture the essence of oral history more than sitting back and enjoying the crazily varied stories of such a diverse set of interviewees. Even if one thinks themselves an expert when it comes to a subject, even if they are an expert -- anybody can always glean more ways to look at the world when they read oral history stories. So, I think it's apt that this is the first oral history internship assignment that many people experience.

Also, two days ago, during a humid summer evening (apologies for the horrible transition, but as you can see, I really am working hard to incorporate the title of this post), I, along with Zina, one of the interns on this project, attended an excellent screening of a film called The New Black. Directed by Yoruba Richen, it focused on the effects of the gay rights movement in the African-American community in Maryland -- specifically, it documented the fight to approve the state referendum in 2012 that legalized same-sex marriage in that community. As the film discussed, the center of many African-American communities are the churches, and of course, religious conservatives often fight the hardest against the gay rights movement. I knew both of those things beforehand, and I think many other people did too -- but what made this film quite moving was how it showed all the ways those two facts collided for LGBTQ African-Americans and other African-Americans who support them. 

Afterwards, an able panel of experts helped break down and discuss the film. Audience participation was encouraged, and I got over the intimidation of speaking in front of an older and undoubtedly wiser crowd to throw my two cents into the discussion of the film and ask a question. Many kudos to WILL reporter Sean Powers -- he was an excellent discussion facilitator who led the discussion to new and interesting topics. (Thanks also to Sean for letting, and helping, me plug the oral history project -- I love me a chance to obnoxiously spread the word about the things I'm really into). 

So, to the innumerable readers who I'm sure constantly check this blog for exciting updates about the Right to Marry project -- there you have it!


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