Diversity Commission to Screen ‘13th’ Documentary

The Diversity Commission will host an online discussion of Ava DuVernay’s 2016 documentary, ‘13th,’ at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 18.

The documentary examines the history of racial inequality in the U.S. and the mass incarceration of Black Americans. Participants are invited to watch the movie on their own prior to the discussion which will take place via WebEx. The movie is available to stream on Netflix and YouTube.

“Our goal with the event is to raise awareness of the challenges faced by Black Americans and other minorities while developing a sense of community among our residents,” Commission Chairwoman Pamela Butler stated.

The discussion will be facilitated by Tanja Thompson, Susan Talbott, and Denisha Johnson Hamilton.

Thompson is the author of “What to Expect When You Didn’t Expect Breast Cancer,” a TEDx speaker and coach, and long-time Loudoun community activist. Last year, she moderated the community forum on the proposed memorials to lynching victims in Loudoun County. Thompson holds a masters degree in Human Resource Management and a bachelors degree in Healthcare Administration and is working toward a second graduate degree from George Mason University’s School of Conflict Analysis and Resolution.

Talbott is a counselor-in-training at Messiah University, working toward certification as a Licensed Professional Counselor. Talbott previously had a career in secondary school administration and is the former admissions director for the Loudoun School of Advanced Studies (formerly the Loudoun School for the Gifted), a private school in Ashburn.

Hamilton is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who has worked in the mental health field in Loudoun County for 15 years, both in private practice and as an outpatient therapist for Loudoun County Mental Health. In 2016, Hamilton was named Loudoun’s Best Counselor for Kids.

Participation in the online discussion is free, but spaces are limited. Register via Eventbrite atleesburg-diversity-commission-movie-discussion.eventbrite.com. Once registered, participants will receive the link to join the discussion.

The mission of the Diversity Commission is to foster diversity and inclusion in the community. In light of the current racial tensions and renewed attention to long-standing systemic racism, the commission hopes to hold a series of community discussions around these issues.

For more information, contact Betsy Arnett, staff liaison to the Diversity Commission, atbarnett@leesburgva.gov.

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