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Modesto Junior College

Civic Engagement Project offers Fall Film and Lecture Series

The Modesto Junior College Civic Engagement Project (CEP) invites the campus and community to the Fall Film Series, beginning with a screening of the Making of a Gangsta on Thursday, October 5.  CEP's Fall Series includes the free showing of three thought-provoking films this semester.  All events begin at 7 p.m. in Forum 110 on MJC’s East Campus, 435 College Avenue, Modesto, and there is an opportunity for discussion following each film. 

Through interviews with clinical psychologists, gang experts, and former gang members, Making of a Gangsta presents viewers with stories of heartbreak and messages of healing, not glamorized media images. Emotional accounts of adverse childhood experiences and individuals shaped by pain, loss, rejection and distrust are disclosed in the film, which aims to reduce prejudice, inspire empathy, and raise hope by encouraging viewers to see beyond stereotypes.

MJC is excited to welcome the film’s director, Adam T. Ybarra, as the event’s guest speaker. Ybarra served as team chaplain for the Oakland Raiders and currently heads The Tenacious Group, which partners with youth organizations to promote purpose, hope, and vision. Other guest speakers include a correctional supervisor at Juvenile Hall in Modesto and a Stanislaus County youth development facilitator. 

The next two films scheduled are:

The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution – Oct. 19:  Subtitled Vanguard of the Revolution, this film sets the rise of the Black Panther Party alongside the turbulent tide of the Vietnam protests and amidst the raging disputes over civil rights. Through a combination of archival footage and interviews with surviving Panthers and FBI agents, The Black Panthers tells the story of a controversial movement that was viewed as a source of great inspiration by some but was regarded as extremely menacing by others, such as FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, who declared the Black Panthers to be “the greatest threat to internal security of the country.”

The White Helmets – Nov. 2:  Winner of the Academy Award for best short-subject documentary in 2016, this film follows a group of volunteer rescue workers of the Syrian Civil Defense, also known as the White Helmets, as they risk their lives in their efforts to save victims trapped in the rubble caused by military airstrikes.

For more information on MJC’s Civic Engagement Project or the Fall Film and Lecture Series, contact Jason Wohlstadter, Professor of English, at