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Tulsa theaters to screen John Lewis documentary as ‘peaceful protest’ of Trump rally

Tulsa, Okla., theaters will screen a documentary about civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) on June 19 as part of a “peaceful protest” against President Trump’s planned campaign rally the next day.

Magnolia Pictures, the producer of “John Lewis: Good Trouble,” will screen it through the nonprofit organization Circle Cinema for free on Juneteenth, the holiday marking the emancipation of American slaves.

Trump will hold his first campaign rally since the coronavirus pandemic kicked into high gear in the city on Saturday.

The rally was originally scheduled for Friday before the campaign pushed it back a day after heavy criticism. Detractors cited both the date and the location of Tulsa, the site of what has been described as the deadliest incident of racial violence in U.S. history when white mobs destroyed the city’s prosperous “Black Wall Street” community in 1921, killing as many as 300 people.

“Our city is searching for ideas and ways to do peaceful protest of Trump,” Chuck Foxen, film programmer at Circle Cinema, told Variety. “This feels like a powerful way to celebrate the spirit and meaning of Juneteenth.”

Foxen said the nonprofit will also screen the film virtually and maintain 25 percent capacity for all in-person screenings to help prevent transmission of the coronavirus.

Neal Block, Magnolia’s head of marketing and distribution, said the documentary, which had originally set for release on June 3, is vital viewing due to Lewis’s own history of protesting institutional racism and violence against African Americans, issues that have been at the front of the national consciousness since the police killing of George Floyd in police custody last month. 

“We think John Lewis’s story is a crucial story to share with Tulsa audiences,” Block told the publication. “Rep. Lewis has been at it for six decades, fighting for equality, and I’m sure he wishes he didn’t have to fight as hard as he still does. This film is sadly, depressingly still relevant at a time when this country is confronting issues of systemic racism.”

Tags 2020 2020 campaign deaths in police custody Donald Trump George Floyd good trouble John Lewis Juneteenth racial inequality Tulsa tulsa race massacre

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