In the wake of the sexual harassment scandals in Hollywood and in politics, Rocky Mountain Public Broadcasting System and Mesa County Libraries are offering Grand Valley residents an opportunity to join the discussion.
Rocky Mountain PBS is hosting a screening of the documentary film "The Mask You Live In" at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Mesa County Library Central Library in downtown Grand Junction followed by a panel discussion.
The film analyzes how American boys are raised and some of the gender stereotypes that lead young men to suppress emotions and objectify women. The stereotypes interconnect with race, class and circumstance, and the film includes interviews with psychologists, sociologists and neuroscientists. The film is also streaming on Netflix.
The panel includes Sgt. Lonnie Chavez with the Grand Junction Police Department, Counseling and Education Center counselors John Isaacs and Michael Lambert, and Kara L. Smith, a deputy public defender in Grand Junction. It will be moderated by Gretchen Reist from Roaring Judy productions. Reist worked with Rocky Mountain PBS and the library to host the event and form the panel.
"What I like about the film is it actually tries to go to the root cause of things like sexual harassment," Reist said.
In addition to Grand Junction, the film will be shown in Denver, Durango and Colorado Springs. The idea for the showing came after the sexual harassment reports surrounding Charlie Rose, who hosted a long-time talk show on PBS.
Noting that the allegations against Rose were not an isolated incident, Rocky Mountain PBS CEO Amanda Mountain decided to have the showings as a way to engage communities around the state in conversations surrounding sexual harassment and the #Me Too movement.
"First of all, we just want to open up the conversation in our community," said Charlie Blackmer, development and outreach specialist for Rocky Mountain PBS in Grand Junction. "Our mission is to strengthen the civic fabric of Colorado. We aim to do that by allowing difficult conversations to take place."
The event is also the first of the "Crossing the Divide" series, a new multimedia collaboration between Rocky Mountain PBS, Mesa County Libraries and The Daily Sentinel focusing on issues specifically related to life on the Western Slope.
The next event in that series is a screening on the Colorado Experience Roadshow on Feb. 6 at the Museum of the West.
"The original concept was we would develop topics and issues based on what we thought was relevant and timely for our local area," Reist said.