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Meaningful Movies group pairs documentary with community activism presentation, workshop

Offering monthly documentaries paired with community discussion and action steps for viewers to take, Meaningful Movies in Gig Harbor is pairing its latest movie with a presentation from the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) on Friday (March 10).

This month’s movie is “We the People 2.0,” a documentary sharing stories from around the country of communities fighting and organizing against environmental concerns to confront and change existing laws and provide more control and protection for local communities and the environment.

The choice for the movie was an obvious one for the steering committee of Gig Harbor’s Meaningful Movies, said Kriss Kevorkian, a member of the committee, because of the local concerns surrounding overdevelopment and environmental issues.

“I thought it would be a really good idea,” she said. “We want to keep it as open as possible. We want to give information on what you can do.”

The presentation from CELDF, lead by Kai Huschke, CELDF Northwest and Hawaii Organizer, will follow the movie and the event’s action step will be to encourage attendance at a Community Rights Workshop held by CELDF on Saturday (March 11) at the Gig Harbor Pierce County Library, sponsored by the Citizens for the Preservation of Gig Harbor.

“Our role is really a support role,” Huschke said. “It comes about when communities are looking to be a greater decision maker on an issue.”

He added that the workshop will feature other community projects around the U.S. as well as explanations for the existing government and legal structures that many communities find themselves fighting in order to preserve their communities or local environment.

CELDF also offers resources and examples for how communities are changing those existing power structures to regain more power.

“It’s not just an issue problem that they might have … but the fact that there’s a system underneath that that provides that power,” he said.

CELDF was active with Save Tacoma Water, which was where Meaningful Movies in Gig Harbor first contacted the organization to come speak in Gig Harbor, Huschke said.

The Community Rights Workshop will also feature some time for attendees to talk about specific issues they find concerning or are currently engaged in preventing.

“It’s about communities building from the ground up,” he explained. “It becomes less about a legal situation and more about a political one.”

Meaningful Movie organizers are hopeful that this movie and discussion will further community engagement from viewers, which is the goal of all their movies, Kevorkian said.

“We’re hopeful people will show up for the Community Rights Workshop,” she said.

Huschke said that he’s been informed of some issues concerning Gig Harbor residents and of some local groups working to change local power structures.

“I’m excited to be (in Gig Harbor),” he said. “It’s always great when people are recognizing that there’s a degree of powerlessness out there and we don’t have to live with that, we can do something about it.”

Meaningful Movies in Gig Harbor will feature “We the People 2.0” followed by a community discussion at 6:30 p.m. Friday (March 10) at Angus Dei Lutheran Church, located at 11051 Peacock Hill.

The CELDF Community Rights Workshop will be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday (March 11) at the Gig Harbor Pierce County Library, located at 4424 Point Fosdick Drive. Both events are free and open to the public.

Andrea Haffly: 253-358-4155, @gateway_andrea

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