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‘Free Angela and All Political Prisoners’ Screens at UC Santa Barbara

(From left) Kim Bluitt, Ingrid Banks, Angela Davis and Gaye Johnson. (Photo Credit: Spencer Bruttig)

If political activist Angela Davis were invited to address Congress tomorrow, she would encourage lawmakers in both Houses to forget about politicking and think deeply about real people’s needs.

“My advice would be to consider what we need to do to make this country a place where its inhabitants can live and love and learn,” she said in an interview at UC Santa Barbara’s Pollock Theater. Davis was on campus for a screening of the film “Free Angela and All Political Prisoners,” a documentary by Shola Lynch that chronicles Davis’s life as a young, outspoken UCLA professor who in the late 1960s and early 1970s became a symbol of the fight for social justice.

The film centers on Davis’s activism as well as her affiliation with the Communist Party and the Black Panthers, which led not only to her removal from the faculty at UCLA, but to her implication –– and subsequent trial and acquittal –– in the 1970 kidnapping attempt that resulted in the death of Superior Court Judge Harold Haley.

The film was followed by a question-and-answer period moderated by Gaye Theresa Johnson, associate professor of black studies at UCSB. Also participating in the discussion was the film’s co-producer, Sidra Smith.

The “Free Angela” event was brought to campus by Sol Sisters Rising, a collective recently co-founded by Johnson, UCSB colleague Ingrid Banks, associate professor in the Department of Black Studies, and Kim Bluitt, a higher education and philanthropy professional. Sol Sisters Rising is dedicated to elevating the profile of women of color in films. Their goal is to create opportunities for recognition of and support for films that draw attention to the experiences of women of color.


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