July 12, 2019
Community Newsletter
Cinema Arts Centre Hosts Northport High School Students for 60,000 Community Forum

By Garrison Bouchard-Ferdon, Cinema Arts Centre Youth Advisory Board Member
On Wednesday, July 10th, the Cinema Arts Centre hosted a panel discussion with seven students from Northport High School in Long Island and Tug Valley High School in West Virginia. The discussion was moderated by Darryl St. George, adviser for the Students for 60,000 , the service club of which the Northport High School students are a part. The agenda was broad, touching on many social issues, with a focus on healing and unity. As a local high school student who is active around issues of social justice, I was very interested to hear what the students had to say, and of course had my own opinions.

Before the West Virginian students came to visit New York, the Northport students had taken a service trip to West Virginia in February. They had selected Kermit West Virginia because of the impact of the opioid crisis in the area. While this is a national problem, Kermit has received shipment of over nine million pain pills in two years , and has a population of 392.

Prior to their first visits, each group of students was asked to write three honest expectations about the region they would be visiting. Many misconceptions were made about each other, and there were some correct expectations as well. The Long Island students anticipated that that the West Virginians would be very religious, with a more polite tone, but non-accepting of LGBTQ communities. The West Virginian students expected that people here would be more rude, and they expected more crime and gang violence here. They were mostly talking about New York City, and didn’t see a big difference between the city and Long Island prior to their visit. Both groups were surprised by what they found. The Long Island students found that the West Virginians were more tolerant than they thought. The West Virginian students saw that the people in New York were very polite and caring. And the crime here wasn’t as bad as they thought. This exercise was to show that assumptions about other communities can be unhealthy, and are often wrong. As Lucas, one of the student panelists, put it, “It is dangerous to go somewhere with these assumptions.”

The differences between the two communities led to a new conversation. The students were asked what the greatest threat to America was. And it was mostly one thing, polarization. With the USA so split, we cannot decide on anything, and all we do is breed a culture of fear and hate. This is a serious problem. Then they started talking about solutions.  At first, Mr. St. George brought up how social media can contribute to polarization. After that, social media and digital communication dominated the conversation. Danielle, from El Salvador, who now lives in Northport, believed that in order to fix polarization, we need radical change. I believe this is exactly the mentality that we need, but her suggestion was to stop using phones in school, and to not use social media as much. But I feel that social media isn’t really the problem , and shouldn’t just be discarded. If we want to lessen polarization, social media can be an important tool. It just depends on how we use it. If we use it only to talk with people like us, and make fun of the other side, then that is using it wrong. When we use social media, we need to use it as an online community, to share our stories, and understand each other. And we need to learn how to communicate with empathy online , which is harder than in face-to-face communication.

Peyton, from Tug Hill High School in West Virginia, believed that in order to end polarization, we need to compromise. This is a nice thought, but I just don’t think this can always work. Take climate change , just as an example. How exactly can you compromise on that?  We say it doesn’t exist and it does exist at the same time? In this case, if we compromise we just won’t get anywhere, and it won’t feel good enough for anyone. However, I do believe that we need to come to an understanding.

A lot of problems were talked about and a lot of solutions were brought up. But one thing was made very clear. Adults should listen to kids. They should hear their problems, and hear their solutions. Everyone needs to be heard, and I felt that that was an important lesson.

Groups like Students for 60,000 create opportunities for kids to find a purpose and make a difference in the face of complicated and serious national and world problems. I’m glad that the Cinema Arts Centre hosted this discussion so that more people could learn about this great group and the challenges they are working on together. This is just one reason why the Cinema Arts Centre is more than just a movie theater. It’s a place for people of all backgrounds, and all generations, to hear each other and be heard.
Garrison Bouchard-Ferdon is a member of the Cinema Arts Centre's newly forming Youth Advisory Board . Youth Advisory Board Members are volunteers ages 15 - 25 who help to ensure that the Cinema Arts Centre delivers its mission to young Long Islanders. Youth Advisory Board Members meet monthly and have opportunities to gain experience in marketing, branding, and event planning. Members will also have opportunities to contribute content to our community newsletter, and suggest their own projects. Youth Advisory Board members receive a free Young Film Fan Membership for the duration of their service. For more information, contact rene@cinemaartscentre.org . CLICK HERE to apply.
CAC to Donate Books to Area Schools and Libraries after Dr. Ruth's Visit
33 copies of the graphic novel Roller Coaster Grandma: The Amazing Story of Dr. Ruth will be gifted to school districts and libraries in Nassau and Suffolk County.

The graphic novel was written by author and media personality Dr. Ruth Westheimer, who visited the Huntington based independent theater for an event this June. 

Titled, Roller Coaster Grandma: The Amazing Story of Dr. Ruth, the graphic novel-style autobiography for ages 8-12 depicts the ups and downs of Dr. Ruth's life - From her escape from the Nazis at age 10 aboard a Kindertransport, to her training as a sniper with the Hagganah in Israel, through her immigration to the US where she started as a maid, became a college professor, and eventually a television star. Using a trip to an amusement park with her grandchildren as its framework, the story subtly demonstrates lessons of grit, resilience, and strength that young readers can apply to their own lives.
The Cinema Arts Centre hopes that by sharing Dr. Ruth’s incredible story it may help to inspire and empower the young people of our community. 

The institutions receiving the donated books include: South Huntington Public Library, Huntington Public Library, Syosset Public Library, Plainview-Old Bethpage Public Library, Cold Spring Harbor Library, South Huntington Union Free School District, Harborfields Central School District, Huntington Union Free School District, and Northport-East Northport Union Free School District.

Special Thanks to Dr. Jud Newborn, who curated the event An Evening with Dr. Ruth at the Cinema Arts Centre last month, and CAC Board Member Stephen Fisch, for making this contribution possible.
 The Cinema Arts Centre is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization. The mission of the Cinema Arts Centre is to bring the best in cinematic artistry to Long Island, and use the power of film to expand the awareness and consciousness of our community.
Thanks to our July Program Sponsors:
Thanks to Stuart and Ginger Polisner for their ongoing support of our Real-to-Reel and Creativity Series.

When you visit a business that supports the cinema, please let them know how much it means to you.
Major Grant Support
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