Thanks to an overwhelming and generous response from the community, the IRC in Atlanta’s youth programs were able to take 26 students to see Marvel’s Black Panther on President’s Day. Our young people were thrilled to see heroes who look like them saving the world, as well as starring in, writing and directing a major American movie franchise.
This event wouldn’t have been possible without the support of generous community members who donated movie theatre gift cards. Social events are an essential part of teambuilding and also provide an outlet for our students who work incredibly hard in school, at their jobs, and in their homes and communities. Students attended from both our Youth Futures afterschool program and our Connect to Success program for out-of-school youth aged 16 to 24.
Career Readiness Specialist, Ayaz Ahmed, organized the event and the drive for donations. After seeing the trending hashtag #WhatBlackPantherMeansToMe, Ayaz knew that seeing Black Panther would be a powerful and affirming experience for our youth.
“When young people are constantly told that they cannot do something because of where they are from, it chips away at their internal strength and makes it that much harder for them to succeed,” said Ayaz. “One of our clients started college in January and in her first literature class, her teacher asked, ‘Where are you from?’ The client replied, ‘I'm from Uganda’, and the teacher's reaction was, ‘they speak English over there?!’”
“I know our clients are strong enough that they're not going to drop out of school because of an off-hand comment from one teacher in one class – in fact, she earned an 85 on her first lit paper – but these comments happen over and over again. Our hope was that by taking them to see superheroes that look like them, talk like them, and speak their languages, we could help fill in some of the chips in our client’s armor.”
Everyone had a fantastic day out and Black Panther received rave reviews all round. The IRC in Atlanta is so grateful for the support we received to make this day possible, we’ll leave you with the words of our young people who put it best:
"I want to send a big thank you to all those who care about us so much, so that we can watch Black Panther. It is best movie of the years. I was so surprised that I felt familiar when they included my language, Hausa, words such as "na godé" means thank you. To all people who haven't seen it yet, I want to tell you that Black Panther is nothing like other movies you have seen before. Black Panther will specially take you to Africa in your seat, you should really see it.”
“What I really love most about this movie is the fact that it gives another image to the African continent, rather than just being images of animals, forests or hungry people, but a developed continent with all the resources including advanced technology. Another thing is also the idea of standing up for what is right no matter what it does cost."
To learn more about the work of the IRC in Atlanta and for information on how you can get involved with the IRC as a donor or volunteer, please contact Development Manager, Kalie.Lasiter [at] Rescue.org (Kalie Lasiter) or 678-636-8941.