IT’S TIME TO LISTEN by Jason Stuart

I was profoundly affected by Kathryn Bigelow’s new film DETROIT, which focuses on the murder of 3 young African American men at the Aligiers Motel by the local police in 1967. It was heart breaking and yet all too familiar. The fact that young black men are still being shot in the back in this country 50 years later is shameful and totally unacceptable.

Some are justifying this because being a police officer is a hard and dangerous job. Its is, but it is a choice to work in this field, and being black in this country is not. not saying all police are bad and they shoot all black men and women on purpose. We need to understand the complexities of this matter and not to simplify it. To do this we must learn to listen to each other, see all sides and find a solution from the root of the problem, which I believe is the lack of equality.

I’m an actor. Last year I was at a gala where Tom Hanks was getting a lifetime achievement award. Many people mentioned how he was the “Everyman”. Now, I love Tom Hanks! He is a brilliant actor, but why is he the everyman? I believe its because he is a white, heterosexual, Christian looking man. That’s why.

Even my own union SAG AFTRA, has two different groups vying for how to negotiate our contract for the new changing world of TV, without really listening to each other!

Let me be clear, I am not a fan of our current president in any way sharpe or form. Trump does not listen. He is not a president for all of us, as he only chooses to communicate with his base. He disrespected former President Obama’s Supreme Court Justice choice by not even considering Merrick Garland, by not even giving him a hearing. Trump has only a few women in his cabinet, a few people of color and not a LGBT person in plain view. This is not America today.

After touring last year on the film festival and award circuit with Nate Parkers’s THE BIRTH OF A NATION, in which I has a wonderful supporting role, I learned my opinion as a white male needs to go on the back burner, as I am not experiencing what black men are when it comes to justice in this country. Instead, I took off my shoes, put on the shoes of my black brother and sisters, shut up and listened.

By listening to each other, we Americans can come to an agreement of sorts so there is opportunity for all, without bias. So we can all live in a Society of one nation under many Gods (or higher powers), with just for all.

Someone once said that.... I think it was a pretty good idea.

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