Civic Engagement Film Series kicks off at downtown Pontiac theater

The Civic Engagement Film Series kicks off in Pontiac this week as Oakland University begins a new chapter of its OU-Pontiac Initiative.

Started as a way for OU and the Pontiac community to come together and learn from one another, the Film Series is just the latest instance of community engagement since the initiative began five years ago.

On Thursday, Sept. 19, beginning at 6:30 p.m., OU students and the community are invited to gather at Pontiac’s Little Art Theatre, or The PLAT, for a free showing of Selma. History professor De Witt Dykes will then lead a discussion following the film.

The movie follows the historic 1965 march for equal voting rights led by Dr. Martin Luther King, from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama.

"I can’t think of a better film to kick off the series," says David Dulio, director of the Center for Civic Engagement and professor of Political Science at OU.

Dulio got the idea for the film series as a member of The PLAT mailing list. The theater hosts viewings of many classic films throughout the year. He read an email, reached out, and the Civic Engagement Film Series got its start.

"They’ve been all for it and great to work with," he says. "I’m really pleased to do this at The PLAT."

The OU-Pontiac Initiative is an opportunity for the campus and the community to come together and have conversations about what’s important.

While students can learn in the classroom, they can learn in the community, too.

Dulio says that the initiative is based on four key questions.

"What does OU need and what does Pontiac have to offer and, conversely, what does Pontiac need and what does OU have to offer," he says.

"The intersection of those questions is our sweet spot."

The Civic Engagement Film Series is free and open to the public. Future films and discussions include The Manchurian Candidate (11/19); The Ides of March (1/13/20); and Enemy of the State (3/11/20).

Pontiac’s Little Art Theatre is located at 47 N. Saginaw St. in downtown Pontiac.

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Read more articles by MJ Galbraith.

MJ Galbraith is a writer and musician living in Detroit. Follow him on Twitter @mikegalbraith.
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