By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – The First Unitarian Church of Oklahoma City will host a screening of the film, “Brother Outsider, the Life of Baynard Rustin” on Friday, November 10 at 7 p.m. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.
The documentary will be shown in Daniel Hall at First Unitarian Church, 600 NE 13th with a question and answer period to follow. The public is invited to this free event, but donations are accepted.
The showing of the film is co-sponsored by the church’s Social Justice and Interweave (Unitarian Universalists for Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian, and Transgender Concerns) Committees to raise awareness of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) concerns.
“Since the early 1960s, Unitarian Universalists have stood up for the rights of sexual minorities,” said Rev. Greg Stewart, Interim Minister at First Unitarian Church of Oklahoma City. “We’ve performed same-gender weddings and holy unions almost as long. In our Sunday schools, we teach lifespan sexuality education beginning in Kindergarten.
“We appreciate tireless activists like Bayard Rustin, a gay black man who did not hide in the closet while working closely with Martin Luther King Jr.,” Stewart added. “He was known to many as Dr. King’s ‘right-hand man.’ Rustin’s story and role in history are not widely known in Oklahoma; we have a spiritual obligation to tell his truth.”
Variety called Baynard Rustin, “a largely unsung hero of the Civil Rights movement” and described the film, “Brother Outsider” as a “well-crafted and evenhanded documentary.”
First airing at the Sundance Film Festival in 2006, “Brother Outsider” has introduced viewers around the world to the life and work of Bayard Rustin.
Through the documentary, co-directors Nancy Kates and Bennett Singer tell the story of Rustin (1912-1987), an openly gay pacifist who was inspired by Gandhi, and who was a mentor to Martin Luther King, Jr. Rustin helped to organize the 1956 Birmingham bus boycott and was the architect of the 1963 March on Washington.
In 2013, President Barack Obama bestowed a posthumous Presidential Medal of Freedom — the nation’s highest civilian honor — on Rustin, which was accepted by Walter Naegle, his surviving life partner.
A review by PBS said, “Brother Outsider captures the full extent of Rustin’s complex, 60-year career as an activist.”
Receiving more than 25 awards and honors, “Brother Outsider” has been shown at The United Nations, The Kennedy Center, and for members of Congress, as well as at hundreds of schools, community forums, labor gatherings, faith organizations, and film festivals.
The documentary has also been used in workplace diversity presentations at corporations, law firms, and other companies.
Established in 2006, the Interweave group plans and participates in educational programs for the congregation and the community, acts as sponsor for the Oklahoma City Youth United (OCKYU) group, and plays a leading role in the congregation’s annual celebration of Pride week during the month of June.
For more information, call 405-232-9224 or visit 1uc.org.