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The Whole Staircase: Films Celebrating 400 Years of African American History & Culture

Voting Matters  (2018)

Voting Matters"More than 50 years after the Voting Rights Act of 1965, one of the most extensive pieces of civil rights legislation, people of color across the United States still are engaged in a battle to protect their right to vote. VOTING MATTERS follows one dynamic woman working tirelessly on the ground and in the courts to ensure that they are not denied this right.

When a key section of the Voting Rights Act was struck down in 2013, several states with a history of racial discrimination immediately attempted to pass laws that further restricted voter rights. This came in the form of limiting the window for voter registration, purging voters with inactive histories and requiring more restrictive forms of ID. There are currently 23 states with such voter restrictions. This film follows civil rights attorney Donita Judge as she helps several voters in Ohio cast ballots even though they initially were turned away." - distributor's summary

FILMMAKER'S STATEMENT: "As a lawyer and filmmaker, I am particularly interested in stories that illustrate how the legal system affects the daily lives of everyday people. I constantly work to present people with stories and information that will help them be more civically engaged and gain new perspective." - Dawn Porter

The Library will show this film in preparation for the related speaking engagement by the Supervisor of Elections from Putnam and St. Johns counties. There will not be a formal discussion held immediately after the film's screening in St. Augustine.

All are welcome to this free event!

Screening Dates and Locations

October 10, 2019 at the St. Augustine Campus
Times: 11:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.  and 1:00 p.m. - 1:30 p.m. 
Location: Library, room L-112 
All are welcome to this free event!

September 10, 2019 at the Palatka Campus 
Times: 10:50 a.m. - noon and 1:40 p.m. - 2:55 p.m.
Location: Building A, Valhalla Hall
Immediately following the film, Christina Prout, Deputy Supervisor of Election Operations at the Putnam County Supervisor of Elections Office, will do a presentation.  
All are welcome to this free event!

If you need an interpreter, please email Dr. Will at least 2 weeks before the event.

October 1, 2019 at the St. Augustine Campus
Times: 9:30 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.  and 12:30 p.m. - 1:00 p.m. 
Location: Library, room L-112 
All are welcome to this free event!

Related Event: October 3, 2019  The Commemorative Speaker Series - Vicky Oakes, St. Johns County Supervisor of Elections 

If you need an interpreter, please email Dr. Will at least 2 weeks before the event.

Film Information - Voting Matters

Run time: 27 minutes

This short documentary is not rated.

Closed captioning and transcript available.

Film licensed through Kanopy

FILMMAKER'S BIOGRAPHY: Dawn Porter is an award-winning filmmaker whose 2013 documentary, "Gideon's Army," won a Sundance Film Festival editing award, was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award and an Emmy, and later was broadcast on HBO. Dawn's previous films include "Rise: The Promise of My Brother's Keeper," a documentary chronicling President Barack Obama's program to help young men and boys of color succeed, and "Trapped," which explores the impact of laws regulating abortion clinics in the South. "Trapped" premiered at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival, where it won the Special Jury Award for Social Impact Filmmaking. Her most recent project "Bobby Kennedy for President" premiered on Netflix earlier this year.

Resources for Further Exploration - Voting Matters

Books at the SJR State Library
Books may be checked out by community patrons as well as SJR State students faculty and staff. If a title is located at another campus, the book may be sent to another campus upon request.

eBooks at the SJR State Library
Please note: eBooks are only accessible to currently registered SJR State students, faculty, and staff via MySJRstate due to licensing restrictions.

Celebration • Education • Reflection

H.R.1242/Public Law 115-102, the 400 Years of African American History Commission Act, establishes 2019 as a year of "commemoration of the 400th anniversary of the arrival of Africans in the English colonies, at Point Comfort, Virginia, in 1619."  The commemoration is intended “to recognize and highlight the resilience and contributions of African-Americans since 1619; to acknowledge the impact that slavery and laws that enforced racial discrimination had on the United States; and to educate the public about the arrival of Africans in the United States; and the contributions of African-Americans to the United States.” In recognition of this commemoration and with the Act serving as a guide, the SJR State Library has organized a year-long series of events that will provide educational experiences and resources to students and the community that celebrate the history and culture of African Americans.

Site created and maintained by Dr. Christina Will. Pages will be added and maintained throughout 2019.
Maintenance will cease at the end of 2019 but this site will remain accessible.