Mallard’s Host Social Justice Movie Night with YP Coalition and YWCA Madison
Thursday night the ballpark was yet again transformed from its traditional use as a baseball stadium, but this time it became a space for not only drive-in movies but for important community conversation.
The sold-out movie The Hate U Give doubled as a catalyst for educating on and for funding racial disparities in the Madison area, as 100% of the ticket proceeds and 10% of the concessions proceeds were donated to YWCA Madison.
“[These unrestricted dollars] allow us to be able to pivot to the needs of the community at that time so that we are not boxed in…So with these dollars we are able to shift and put money behind things that make sense for right now,” said Vanessa McDowell, CEO of YWCA Madison.
YWCA Madison is a non-profit organization with the mission of eliminating racism and empowering women, and one way they do this is by partnering up with local businesses (like the Mallards) to educate the community they reside in. They also have an empowerment center available to anyone seeking a job or career skills, and a support system for those seeking housing or shelter.
In fact, YWCA’s downtown location houses over 110 people, and in order to support these people they accept donations of money and critically needed items like sheets, baby formula, cleaning supplies, and many others you can find on their website. As they juggle the economic disparities brought on by the pandemic and the racial disparities in light of the protests, any sort of help is welcomed.
“Not only is the YWCA very passionate about uplifting voices of color and their stories, but also about figuring out how we can change and dismantle systematic and institutionalized racism to rebuild and reimagine sort of a new country,” said McDowell.
While the movie served a great value to the people that attended, the YP Coalition, a partner that helped make the event possible, hopes that people will continue their education on social and racial justice through a conversation series on the movie.
This conversation series will be hosted via Zoom on Tuesday, July 21st at 6:00 PM to 7:30 PM CST for anyone who is familiar with the movie The Hate U Give. The “Pivotal Conversations for Change” series will be hosted by the Madison-Area Young Professionals Coalition and accessible with the following Zoom Meeting ID: 868 1214 1804.
“We just have two [Zoom calls] scheduled out right now and we are going to get some feedback and figure out which direction to go after that. We would like it to be kind of exploring intersectionalities when it comes to identity… [such as] racial identities…sexuality and gender and a whole bunch of other constructs,” said Steve Ticknor, Director of Development Operations at LINC United Way, part of the Young Professionals Coalition.
The YP Coalition just recently came together as a response to the Coronavirus by combining local organizations like Ad 2 Madison, United Way LINC Dane County, Habitat Young Professionals Dane County, Urban League of Greater Madison Young Professionals, Connect Madison, Madison Magnet, and Madison Rotary After Hours. However, as the importance of addressing racial disparities has become even more apparent, they have allocated their resources to where they are most needed.
Although, for some of the groups that formed the Young Professionals Coalition these issues have been at the forefront of their mission all along, and partnering with the Mallards for the first time allowed them to make big steps towards their goals for equality in Madison.
“[The topic of the movie] is directly related to our mission because we are supposed to be working within the community to enhance the community, and we can only enhance a community that we understand. We do work around social justice, race, and equality, so it’s completely aligned with what we do regularly,” said Kurt Rose, president of the Urban League of Greater Madison Young Professionals.
This event may have been far overdue, but the fact that people are putting in the effort to educate themselves speaks volumes on how the prejudices and privileges that have been cemented in the American society for far too long are finally becoming clear.
YWCA CEO Vanessa McDowell agrees that it has been far too long of a wait, specifically for the African American community that has seen too many wrongful deaths without the response that is finally emerging from George Floyd’s muder.
“This movie touches on a lot of aspects, and even though it was released a while ago, these things are still happening in the world right now… [The movie] will provide a foundation for those that do want to join us in our conversation on Tuesday,” said Rose.
This movie is just the first stepping stone towards social justice in the Madison community and beyond, and there is still so much more to do, but the hope is that this event made some sort of a positive difference in the education and elimination of racism for those who attended.