Viewpoint Votes! Hosts Discussion on Documentary John Lewis: Good Trouble

During the week of October 21-28, Viewpoint offered a free virtual screening of Participant Media and CNN Films’ John Lewis: Good Trouble to our community, made possible through the generous support of the women on Viewpoint’s Board of Trustees and their families. On October 29, Viewpoint Votes! hosted an engaging post-screening discussion of the documentary, led by Film Department faculty members Dan O’Reilly-Rowe and Catherine Dunn, Viewpoint Film IV Honors students Charlotte S. ’21 and David W. ’21, and a guest speaker from Participant Media, Kristi Whisler, Director, Documentary Film + TV.  The evening was an opportunity for members of the Viewpoint Votes! initiative and the Film faculty and students to talk about the making of the film and the contributions made by John Lewis to democracy in America

On July 17, the world lost Congressman John Lewis, a civil rights icon who inspired millions with his courage, values, good humor, and strength. He extolled the power of getting in ‘good trouble’ to fight for what’s right. The film is an exploration of his remarkable history and a celebration of his life dedicated to creating opportunity for all Americans.

Lindsey Spindle P ’26, President of The Jeff Skoll Group and a Viewpoint trustee, remarked, “A story well told can change the world by getting into the heads and hearts of individuals. At Participant, we ask how do you use stories to inspire individuals to be real-world participants? Our goal is to combine the power of a story well told with real-world impact and awareness around today’s most vital issues.”

Offering a student’s perspective, David W.’21 said, “I think it is important for our students to see the film because it reminds them of a time not so long ago when an entire group of people had their rights taken from them, something we often see as a faraway impossibility even though it still happens to millions of people in the U.S. and around the world. It is also a reminder that something was done to stop those rights from being taken away, and that any student can stand up and advocate for themselves or their peers. “

Charlotte S.’21 added, "The film does an incredible job at both humanizing John Lewis which allows for the audience to connect with him, but also does his work justice and demonstrates how influential he was in the Civil Rights Movement." 

Rhody Davis, Director of College Counseling and Co-Founder of Viewpoint Votes!, shared how seeing this film did exactly what it was intended to do – it caused her to take action. “One of my inspirations for establishing Viewpoint Votes! was John Lewis. I watched the documentary when it came out in July and was so moved by it. His statement, ‘Your vote matters! If it didn’t, why would some people keep trying to take it away?’ resonated with me. I reflected on how voting is an incredible privilege that we have as Americans and I wanted to understand it and celebrate it. My goal was to increase awareness in our community, especially for the students, of the importance of voting and civic engagement. John Lewis issues a call to action: ‘When you see something that is not right, not fair, not just, you have to speak up. You have to say something; you have to do something.’ The Viewpoint Votes! initiative was a way for me to take action and to do something.”