Finally, Angela gets her release: “Free Angela Davis and All Political Prisoners”

By Jennifer Baltadano

An exclusive sneak preview of a documentary, “Free Angela and All Political Prisoners”, referred to by the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival “as a fascinating chronicle of justice and strength,” was hosted by San Diego County Ethnic Studies Consortium (SDESC), a collective group of students, staff, faculty and community members that are dedicated to the studies of race, ethnicity and social justice.

The movie focuses on the life on Angela Davis, an African American social activist, after it became known that she was a member of the Communist Party. “Free Angela”, is a “historical vérité ” that follows her 1972 trial in San Jose and her experience leading her name to be on the FBI’s Top Ten Most Wanted list.

This fabulous movie was shown as a sneak preview Thursday, April 4, 2013 at the Digiplex Mission Valley by the SDESC.

The SDESC is composed of several participating campuses such as San Diego City College, Mesa College, Palomar College, San Diego State University, University of San Diego, and University of California, San Diego.

Assistant Professor May Fu of the department of Ethnic Studies here at USD, a member in the SDESC and one of the organizers for the sneak preview event spoke of the film’s unique ability to portray Angela Davis in an accurate, clear light.

“Free Angela was a refreshing, inspiring and humanizing portrait of a Black female activist-intellectual, and a sobering critique of the racist system that the Black community continues to face today,” said Fu.

To many this film was very interesting and remarkable since it was directed by an African American woman and was nationally released in theaters.

Andrew Grimes, a student from USD that is a part of the SDESC, was also a big contribution to this event, and talked about the importance of the film’s ability to educate.

“From watching the movie, we can all learn a lot from Davis,” said Grimes. “[Especially] to never back down from what you believe, whether its sexism from your own people, or racism from the entire country and system this country operates on.”

“Free Angela” was a great film because not only did an African American woman direct this film, but it also demonstrated the dramatic life of an African American activist who is seen as inspiration by many.

This was a big accomplishment since both Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X were both equal rights activists whose involvement in the civil rights crusade was cut short by their unfortunate assassinations.

According to freshman student Maddie Kasik, the documentary’s power comes from it’s ability to deal directly with institutionalized prejudice.

“This documentary addresses structural discrimination of African American community as well as stereotyping.” Kasik said. “Angela Davis became a bad person because she was an African American woman who had connections to a militant group but was mostly discriminated against her political views… [which] perpetuated what white supremacists and discriminatory government’s fear.”

Overall, “Free and Angela and All Political Prisoners” is a film that gives audiences a glimpse of our own U.S. history and provides prime insight into social activist Davis.

This film, which contains both original interviews and archival clips, does a great job capturing all the details of this era, keeping the audience on the edge of their seats.

I recommend people watch this documentary film because it provides audiences a different view of Angela’s issues, and because you get a chance to hear Angela speak about her interpretation of what happened. “Free Angela and All Political Prisoners” is a must see movie.