Initiative wants to take high schoolers out to the movies
Published: September 10, 2013
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ST. CROIX - Caribbean Education Initiative will be giving high school students and opportunity to blend entertainment and history tonight as they sponsor a showing of "Lee Daniels' The Butler" in both school districts.
CEI vice president Rashidi Clenance said the organization will be paying for public, private and parochial high school students with valid IDs to see the 6:30 p.m. showings of "The Butler" at Caribbean Cinemas at Market Square Mall on St. Thomas and at Sunny Isle Shopping Center on St. Croix.
"Education comes in many forms and the best education can be free," Clenance said. "This will be on a first-come, first-served basis so we encourage students to come out early to ensure seating in the theater."
Stars Forest Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey and John Cusack have the leading roles in "Lee Daniels' The Butler" as it shows how Cecil Gaines serves eight presidents during his tenure as a butler at the White House while the civil rights movement, Vietnam and other major events affect the man's life and family, as well as transform American society.
Clenance said he believes much of the racial tension that has helped to move the country forward has never been experienced by today's youth and they are not aware of it.
"Most do not even have a real recollection of the events of 9/11," he said. "The biggest racially charged incident in their lives that they are aware of was the Trayvon Martin killing."
He said that even when President Barack Obama was elected as president, many youths did not realize the struggles that had to be overcome to make that possible.
"Many had the feeling like, 'Why not? He is just as good as anybody else,' but they did not realize why it was such a big deal," he said. "This movie shows just how far we have come as a country and how many races and varying people it took to move the country forward."
He said the Freedom Riders, those participating in sit-ins and others who were being oppressed, were not all African American, but they were all people who stood up for equal rights for African Americans.
"This took more than just us to do so much, and it is a great story of how he served under so many presidents and saw the changes made over the years until being able to witness the first African American to be elected president," he said.
Clenance said that as a person who attends movies regularly, he had noticed that very few young people had been going to see the movie and after confirming with management at the theaters, he decided to provide the needed exposure to students.
"They will be moving away from the classroom, but they still will be learning," he said.
Caribbean Education Initiative is a non-profit organization that is focused on curing social ills in the community by supporting intervention, delinquency prevention and character-enhancing initiatives, primarily for youth.
- Contact reporter Fiona Stokes at 714-9149 or email email@example.com.