NORFOLK, Va. - The message on the marquee at Naro Cinema forced Narissa Bond to stop and take a picture.
“Look at the banner - 'Black Lives Matter.' That makes me feel pretty welcomed,” said Bond.
That’s exactly how the Naro wants people to feel when they walk by.
Bond says the sign is a “start" - but that’s not all. The cinema wants to use its platform to support the African American community and help educate others through films like "I Am Not Your Negro," "Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am" and "Whose Streets."
“'Whose Streets,' which is the focus for the Ferguson, Mike Brown, the start of the modern Black Lives [Matter] movement,” said Atlanta Daniel. She’s one of the managers at the Naro Cinema.
Right now, the theater that has about 500 seats is closed due to COVID-19, but through its virtual cinema 100% of proceeds from the three films will go to a grassroots organization, Humanities Behind Bars.
“They’ve set up a 757 solidarity fund to help protesters with bail money and people who were wrongly incarcerated,” Daniel adds.
Naro Cinema is also encouraging other businesses in the community to match their donation of at least 9% to honor the life of George Floyd and other Black lives lost because of police brutality.
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Bond says, “I mean, if this business does something like this, then other businesses will follow suit.”
She says history, race and oppression can be learned through films if people are willing to watch.
“When you see something like this it makes up for it ten-fold,” she adds.