By: Erin Ulrich, Summer 2017 Associate, HOPE Village Initiative Communications Team Member
On the evening of July 13, Focus: HOPE’s HOPE Village Initiative held its second screening of In Pursuit of Hope, along with a photo exhibition, at the University of Michigan’s Detroit Center. HOPE Village residents, long-time Detroiters, community activists and youth attended the viewing and were eager to learn more about the events of 1967, Detroit. By bringing viewers face-to-face with HOPE Village residents’ recollections of the events of ’67, In Pursuit of Hope not only highlights the multiplicity of ways Detroit has been shaped by the 1967 Rebellion, but sheds light on conditions that created unrest in the first place. In Pursuit of Hope serves as a medium for documenting a history that has been silent.
Immediately following the screening, HOPE Village Initiative team members and facilitators, Stephanie Johnson-Cobb and Jasahn Larsosa, asked audience members for one-word responses to the film. Audience reactions included the words, insightful, reflective, eye-opening, moving and emotional. The dialogue following the screening centered on the idea that In Pursuit of Hope is your neighbors’ views and reflects the proximity of the events of ’67 in the lives of HOPE Village residents today. Community members in attendance expressed the importance of knowledge sharing throughout the evening as a means of creating power by speaking out.
Why does it matter to talk about the events of ’67 now? Audience members identified the trauma created by silence as the impetus for the need to speak out now. One audience member responded, “through talking and speaking, you can hear what others are saying. Speaking is power for you, you find that you’re not in it alone.” Throughout the evening, attendees used In Pursuit of Hope as a tool for listening, responding and making their voices heard. Moving forward, audience members called for collective community action, communication across neighborhood lines and different walks of life, and a need to dispel the fear perpetuated by silence . The final remarks of the evening, “we need to learn more about each other, afresh” resonated throughout the room against the backdrop of pictures from the Rebellion and rang true as the event came to a close.
Watch the full documentary here: Watch Now