Forging connections for change.
Not only is that a main goal of members of the Center for Community Growth, it’s also the theme of their 2014 film series that aims to tackle a challenging aspect of activism — getting cause-supporters to come together for change.
The Center for Community Growth is an Indiana-based organization that aims to unite people who believe in progressive, democratic principles, nonviolence and civic engagement, according to the center’s brochure.
This year’s series features panels that will host advocates for different progressive causes.
The first film, “Inequality for All,” will be shown Friday. The film examines the income divide, and will be accompanied by a panel discussion that details what kind of action the community could take to strengthen the middle class in Indiana County.
Doors for the films open at 6:30 p.m., when refreshments will be available. Panel discussions will begin at 7 p.m., and the film will start at 7:30 p.m. at the Indiana Theater along Philadelphia Street.
On the panel for Friday’s film are Dr. Brandon Vick, economist in the IUP Department of Economics; Dr. Jody Sibold, nutritionist; Dianne Reese-Walters, executive director of the Chevy Chase Community Center; and Dr. Jim Dougherty, director for the Center of Northern Appalachian Studies.
Four other films are already scheduled for the series.
“Each film has a call to action with it,” said Eric Barker, a center member who helps coordinate the series.
For Friday’s film, he said, participants are encouraged to bring monetary or food donations for the Indiana County Community Action Program. All of the proceeds will be donated to ICCAP following the event.
The next film in the series, to be shown Feb. 21, will be “Escape Fire: The Fight to Rescue American Healthcare.” The film, according to its website, is about “finding a way out. It’s about saving the health of a nation.”
“Miss Representation,” in which mainstream media expose the under-representation of women in positions of power and influence in America, will be shown March 29. It features interviews with Katie Couric, Condoleezza Rice and Nancy Pelosi.
“GMO OMG,” which investigates the effects of genetically engineered foods, will be featured on April 25.
“The House I Live In,” which examines the war on drugs, will be shown on May 30.
“We had a really good showing last year and were pleased to have the premier sponsor, The First Unitarian Universalist Church of Indiana, pay for the theater and advertising around the events,” said Barker.
Barker said that last year about 400 people attended the film series.
“It’s important to get involved with local issues,” he said. “It’s more (the film series) to raise awareness of global issues and take specific action locally. A lot of times when you watch a documentary, there’s no ‘what’s next?’”
The Center for Community Growth was involved with other projects in 2013, including the Indiana Farmers Market, in which it helped develop a new website. The center also sponsored a booth for local artisans.
It also created the Genetically Modified Organism Action Team, bringing awareness of the dangers of GMOs and importance of eating locally grown and organically grown foods, and a Non-Discrimination Action team that looks to bring an ordinance to Indiana Borough Council that prohibits discrimination in the workplace.
The Recycling Action team brought a petition in front of borough council for single stream recycling, with more than 300 signatures, that would allow borough residents to put plastics out with their recycling.
Barker is also the chairman of a radio show, “Center Radio,” on WIUP-FM at 11 a.m. on Saturdays. The show features a different theme every month. On Saturday, the show will feature the ways that low-income individuals can get help in Indiana County.