A viewing of the documentary “The House I Live In,” known as the “Drug War Movie,” will be held at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 26, in the Student Services Center Auditorium at UALR.
The event is free and open to the public.
Written and directed by award-winning filmmaker Eugene Jarecki, the documentary offers a poignant look at the far reaching impact of the U.S. drug policy. Danny Glover, Brad Pitt, John Legend, and Russell Simmons are the film’s executive producers. The film won the prestigious Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize in 2012.
According to the filmmakers, the war on drugs has accounted for 45 million arrests and has cost more than $1 trillion since the 1970s. As a result, the U.S. has become the world’s largest jailer, and the high volume of drug arrests have created a vicious cycle that destroys low-income communities.
Immediately following the documentary, audience members may participate in a community discussion moderated by Dr. LaVerne Bell-Tolliver, an associate professor in UALR’s School of Social Work.
According to Bell-Tolliver, the makers of the film are encouraging local organizations and community professionals to work together in order to educate the community about this complex national issue.
“The information in the documentary is powerful and enlightening and speaks to issues we face here in Arkansas. By collaborating with like-minded organizations, we can create synergy around this issue that can lead to community action,” she said.
Several groups have pledged their support of spreading the message of the documentary to a wider audience such as the Social Justice Initiative at Philander Smith College, who held a viewing of the film earlier this month in conjunction with the Arkansas Chapter of the END MASS Incarceration Movement.
The showing and community discussion at UALR is sponsored by the Little Rock chapters of the Association of Black Social Workers (NABSW), the Association of Black Psychologists (ABP), and the UALR Institute on Race and Ethnicity.
“Showing a film of this nature is an opportunity to facilitate discussion around an issue that has multiple social implications. Disparities in the criminal justice cannot be ignored without hurting the community as whole. We all have a vested interest in tackling such issues,” said Dr. Michael Twyman, director of the Institute on Race and Ethnicity.
In addition to the END MASS Incarceration Movement, individuals from other advocacy groups will be present to discuss local issues related to the content of the film including Adjoa Aiyetoro, professor at the UALR Bowen School of Law and director of the Racial Disparities in the Arkansas Criminal Justice System Research Project; Leta Anthony, project director of Lewis Burnett Employment Services; Circuit Court Judge Marion Humphrey; and Dr. Richard Lawrence of Access to Recovery.