Arkansas PBS > Engage > Pressroom > AETN, partners to host free screening in Little Rock of "Bridging The Divide: Tom Bradley and the Politics of Race"

AETN, partners to host free screening in Little Rock of "Bridging The Divide: Tom Bradley and the Politics of Race"

Posted 23 Jan 2018

The Arkansas PBS and the Greater Little Rock Chapter of the National Forum for Black Public Administrators, along with local partners, will host a free screening of "Bridging The Divide: Tom Bradley and the Politics of Race" Thursday, Feb. 1, at 6 p.m. at the Kendall Center on the campus of Philander Smith College, 900 W. Daisy L. Gatson Bates Dr., Little Rock. The event is free and open to the public.

A reception will precede the film at 5 p.m., and a panel discussion will follow the film at 7 p.m. Panelists include: Rita Bailey, state district court judge (Pulaski County); state Rep. Vivian Flowers (District 17); Sgt. Rodney Lewis, president of the Little Rock Chapter of the Black Police Officers Association; and Tristan Wilkerson, interim executive director of the Social Justice Institute at Philander Smith College. Veteran journalist Steve Barnes will moderate.

The screening will kick off Philander Smith College's observance of Black History Month.

"Bridging the Divide: Tom Bradley and the Politics of Race" tells the little known story of Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley, the first black mayor elected in a major American city with an overwhelmingly white majority. His 1973 election was a remarkable political first in the history of race and politics in America. In celebration of Black History Month, this documentary raises important issues about race, identity and coalitions, and is especially relevant at a time when the nation is at a tipping point in the struggle against racial injustice and police brutality.

Featuring never-before-seen historical footage and photographs, "Bridging the Divide" examines the creation of Bradley's extraordinary multi-racial coalition of blacks, Jews, white liberals, Latinos and Asian-Americans, which redefined Los Angeles, transformed the national dialogue on race, and set the foundation for sustainable coalitions that encouraged the elections of minority candidates nationwide, most notably President Barack Obama. At the same time, the film examines the complexities and contradictions of Bradley's career as a bridge builder.

Produced by Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Lyn Goldfarb and Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Alison Sotomayor, "Bridging the Divide" also brings into sharp focus the issues of police brutality in minority communities and the challenges of police reform, and shows how Bradley, a former police officer whose political aspirations were shaped by the Watts Rebellion, could not break the cycles of poverty and despair that would ultimately spark the 1992 Los Angeles civil unrest, and mark the end of his era.

Local partners include: the Arkansas Legislative Black Caucus, the Greater Little Rock Chapter of the National Forum for Black Public Administrators, the City of Little Rock, the Little Rock Chapter of the Black Police Officers Association and Philander Smith College.

Established in 1991 by African-American members of the Arkansas Senate and House of Representatives the Arkansas Legislative Black Caucus is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to promote and support policies that positively impact the lives of Arkansans, particularly African-Americans and other marginalized groups.

The National Forum for Black Public Administrators is the principal and most progressive organization dedicated to the advancement of black public leadership in local and state governments. An independent, nonpartisan, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 1983, the NFBPA has established a national reputation for designing and implementing quality leadership development initiatives of unparalleled success. Its over 2,600 members can be found managing public programs and agencies in more than 350 jurisdictions nationwide. Forty chapters support the growth of the organization at the local level.

The capital city of Arkansas is also the state's largest municipality, with nearly 200,000 people calling it home. The City of Little Rock employs approximately 2,500 employees in 14 departments. The mission is to ensure the city is a safe, secure and prospering place for all to live, work and play.

The Black Policemen's Association was formed in 1978 by 10 black officers on the Little Rock Police Department to address the concerns of the existing issues and conditions within the department that adversely affected black officers to the department's administration, city government officials and community leaders. The organization is affiliated with the National Black Police Association, which was formed in 1972.

Founded in 1877, Philander Smith College is a small, privately supported, historically black, four-year liberal arts institution related to the Board of Higher Education and Ministry of the United Methodist Church.

The Arkansas PBS is Arkansas's only statewide public media network, which enhances lives by providing lifelong learning opportunities for people from all walks of life. AETN delivers local, award-winning productions and classic, trusted PBS programs aimed at sharing Arkansas and the world with viewers through the distinct channels AETN PBS, AETN Create, AETN PBS KIDS, AETN World and AETN AIRS on SAP. Audiences can also watch on several digital platforms, and members with AETN Passport have extended on-demand access to a rich library of public television programming. AETN depends on the generosity of Arkansans and the State of Arkansas to continue offering quality programming. Additional information is available at AETN is broadcast on KETS (Little Rock), KEMV (Mountain View), KETG (Arkadelphia), KAFT (Fayetteville), KTEJ (Jonesboro) and KETZ (El Dorado).