“Hey whatcha doing tonight? Wanna go see a movie?”
“Sure, but only if we can use the arts to promote social justice AT THE SAME TIME.”
“Why, indeed we can!”
Did you know that Mashable, a vastly popular social media news blog, devotes an entire section to social good? I didn’t until just now, and I was happy to discover it. The arts came up in a recent article, “Using Film to Change the World” by Christina Warren. She reported on an organization that brings movies to life (har har):
With the glitz and glamor of Hollywood and blockbuster movies, it’s easy to overlook the very real and acutely transformative effect that film and motion pictures have had on the world. Beyond just transporting viewers into new worlds and fantasies, film has the power — perhaps beyond that of any other medium — to shed light on an issue, telling a story and chronicling history.
Baron’s organization, FilmAid, focuses on bringing films to the millions of displaced and impoverished individuals across the globe. Not only do these films offer information about health and human safety, they also help bring the magic of the movies to those that need a message of hope more than anyone.
During the session, Baron recounted the experience of watching children in Afghanistan watch The Wizard of Oz for the first time. Beyond being the first movie that many of these children had seen, it was also the first time that they had heard music.
Not only does it make me tear up (because music is “a ladder for [our] souls, a means whereby [we] may be lifted up unto the realm on high”Bahá’u’lláh, Kitab-i-Aqdas ¶51), it reinforces my belief that equality is a principle vital to the betterment of society and the advancement of civilization. Strange conceptual leap? Perhaps—but engagement with the arts helps people learn about themselves and their world, and everyone—young and old, rich and poor, man and woman—can benefit from exposure to new art forms (or art forms new to them).
Naturally this article also reminded me of an early RLA post about Smart Girls, in which we discussed the importance of educating the girl-child (among other things).
You can watch the full panel discussion if you click on the link to the article.