The City of Newark is not traditionally known to host red carpet screenings, but Michael B. Jordan is changing that.
Being a Newark native, Jordan has engaged the community and has held local screenings of “The Black Panther”, “Creed II”, and most recently “Just Mercy”, on Tuesday, December 17that CityPlex Newark.
“Just Mercy” directed by Destin Daniel Cretton, follows Bryan Stevenson (Michael B. Jordan) in his unprecedented effort to exonerate Walter McMillan (Jamie Foxx), a wrongfully convicted man on death row. The shocking true story, based on Bryan Stevenson’s same-titled memoir, is set in the late 1980s in Monroeville, Alabama, where racism, corruption, and suppressed scandals rig the justice system. Stevenson created the Equal Justice Initiative, which to this day offers legal representation to marginalized individuals, advocates against the death penalty, and provides re-entry assistance for those formerly incarcerated. Stevenson’s motivation to keep going despite all the obstacles he faced stems from his own childhood experience.
“I’m a product of the civil rights era. I started my education in a colored school, and lawyers came into our community and made them open up those schools and that’s what allowed me to go to high school, and college, and law school, and I feel like I’m an heir to this struggle,” Stevenson, who was present at the screening, told The Knockturnal, “I’m standing on the shoulders of people who did so much more with so much less, and that makes me mindful of the fact that I have to keep fighting, that I cannot stop.”
The screening was preceded by a panel discussion and a red carpet that welcomed Michael B. Jordan, Bryan Stevenson, and supporting actors Rob Morgan, and Tim Blake Nelson. The panel featured Newark Mayor Ras Baraka, Ryan Haygood- President and CEO of the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice, Cathy Keenan- volunteer for the Lawyers for Justice, a free legal services organization, and Dennis Porter- founder of the Prodigal Sons and Daughters redirection services. The panelists spoke of the importance of getting involved in one’s local community to end the injustice that many Americans, and especially those of color, experience. The screening was made possible through Warner Brothers, and Prudential Financial.
Everyone has the power to be part of the movement for social justice. Michael B. Jordan advises,
“Voting is something that’s so important, a simple right but a lot of people don’t exercise it… get your education, learn and read about who’s your local prosecutor, what bills are trying to be passed, what policies are being put in place that you can vote on and actively have an impact on the things that affect your community, that affect your circumstances. You can be a part of the movement,” Jordan told the Knockturnal.
“Just Mercy” will be out in select theatres December 25th, and nationally on January 10th, 2020. Check out the trailer.