EWU student groups host documentary viewing and panel discussion

By Kaisa Siipola, Reporter

There’s nothing like a movie night and free pizza to get you through the remainder of the quarter as finals approach.

The Black Student Union, EWU Jewish Club and Phi Alpha Theta/History Club are collaborating on a screening and faculty lead discussion of the documentary “Sammy Davis, Jr.: I’ve Gotta Be Me” in the PUB NCR on March 13 at 6:15 p.m.

The film is a documentary on Sammy Davis Jr., a Jewish, African-American entertainer who was a part of the Black Power Movement. Neal Schindler, director of Jewish Family Services in Spokane, recommended the film to Shawn Dufrene, president of the EWU Jewish Club, when she reached out to him for a film recommendation prior to the event.

Assistant Professor Okera Nsombi and  senior lecturer Angela Schwendiman of the Africana Studies program will lead the discussion after the movie.

The BSU paid Eagle Sound productions to run sound and promote the event. BSU members look forward to the movie and discussion panel, according to BSU President Gracia Alzoubeir.

Alzoubeir was excited when Dufrene reached out to the BSU for a movie night collaboration because the movie revolves around a Jewish, African-American man.

“I’m always wanting to do collaborations with other clubs, especially clubs focusing on diversity since minorities don’t always get the representation they need on campus,” Alzoubeir said.

Dufrene decided to reach out to the BSU and the PAT/History Club to collaborate together on an event during black history month, but the BSU had a lot of events going on at the time and the three organizations decided to plan for a collaboration in March.

Dufrene wanted to work with the BSU and the PAT/History Club because she is also the secretary for the PAT/History Club, pursuing a degree in Africana Studies and has attended some of the BSU’s events.

President of the PAT/History Club Kelli Knerr thinks that partnering with the BSU and the EWU Jewish Club is a great way to focus and apply multiple areas of academia within an event.

Phi Alpha Theta Honor Society Vice President Elizabeth Shaw said that “the partnerships are fabulous” and are a great opportunity to encourage more people to consider a career in history.

“By collaborating with other clubs we have the opportunity to listen and learn from them,” Shaw said.

The documentary can hold value to EWU students because students have the opportunity to reflect on what they’re watching.

“Film screenings are a fun way to evaluate  historical interpretations,” Shaw said. “Obviously, not every film will be historically accurate, and pointing out all the ways the film got it wrong can be either fun or irritating to some people.”

Dufrene says the film can hold value to EWU students because learning about the past is important.

“We don’t know where we are going unless we know where we’ve been,” Dufrene said. “Sammy Davis Jr. is an important figure because he was a figure of diversity in a time of adversity and his complexity as a person reminds us that we are all complex.”

Alzoubeir hopes that students see how hard minorities have to work to live out their dreams as they watch the film.

The EWU Jewish Club formed during spring quarter of last year.  The purpose of the club is to spread awareness of the Jewish culture and provide a space for students who associate with the Jewish faith and are interested in learning about the culture, according to Dufrene.

More information on the EWU Jewish Club can be found on its Facebook page, EWU Jewish Club, on OrgSync, or by contacting Shawn Dufrene at [email protected]

The EWU PAT Honor Society is a national honors society for historians. It was founded almost 40 years ago and holds within it the PAT History Club. The honor society is open to all students according to Shaw.

To join the PAT Honors Society students need to have a GPA above a 3.0 and pay a one time fee of $60.

“Phi Alpha Theta is a national history club that has 350,000 members, with about 9,500 new members joining each year through 860 local chapters across the United States and Canada,” Knerr said.

The purpose of the club is to provide a place for history nerds to come together to study history and to be active about it according to Kneer and Shaw.

“PAT  typically hosts movie screenings, digital field trips to historic sites and museums, potlucks, a historical food tour around Spokane and Wikipedia events where we collaborate with the EWU library and archives to make Wikipedia pages for historical people, places and things,” Shaw said.

More information on the PAT/History Club can be found on its Facebook, OrgSync, or by contacting Knerr at [email protected]