MCSR’s Solutions Through Film offers discussion, challenge
By Stephanie Jackson Ali
On Saturday, February 2, Silver Spring, MD, played host to the 10th annual Solutions Through Film Black History Month Film Festival. This festival is an event put on by current FBB human rights beneficiary Men Can Stop Rape’s Men of Strength Club. The Men of Strength (MOST) Club is part of MCSR’s Strength Campaign, and is designed to help young men in middle and high school develop a healthy masculinity.
The annual film festival allows participants to watch films that speak to the African-American experience, and follows those with youth-led discussions to allow viewers to challenge themselves and the views depicted in the films. The festival is intended to create an open forum and open up lines of communication among those of different races, ages, and social classes to help break down barriers and stereotypes.
This year featured a special treat: Filmmakers Byron Hurt and Janks Morton attended the festival, which featured screenings of their films Soul Food Junkies and Hoodwinked. Both filmmakers also held workshops after the screenings, led by leaders from the Men of Strength Club.
Men Can Stop Rape currently has Men of Strength Clubs in more than 100 schools across the country. In 2003, MOST Clubs were recognized by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) as one of the top four gender violence prevention programs in the country. The program features a 22-week curriculum that aims to:
Provide young men with a safe, supportive space to connect with male peers
Promote an understanding of the ways in which traditional masculinity contributes to sexual assault and other forms of men’s violence against women
Expose young men to healthier, nonviolent models/visions of manhood
Build young men’s capacity to become peer leaders and allies with women
Serve as a hub for social justice activism and nonviolence1
Events such as Solutions Through Film give these young men a creative way to explore healthy relationships and definitions of masculinity. The clubs, and their programs, are helping to create a stronger, healthier generation of young men who are confident, considerate, and ready to prevent violence.