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Community Cinema offers free screening of 'The New Black' in North Little Rock May 6

The Arkansas Educational Television Network (AETN), UALR Public Radio/KUAR FM 89.1 and William F. Laman Public Library invite the public to a free screening of "The New Black" as part of Community Cinema Tuesday, May 6, at 6:30 p.m. The screening will be held in library room 126.

"The New Black" follows the black community as it grapples with the gay rights issue in light of the recent same-sex marriage movement. Following the struggle over marriage equality in the state of Maryland, the film explores how the battle for the hearts and minds of black voters - who compose almost a third of the state's electorate - is fought from the pulpit. Through the stories of activists, families and clergy on both sides of the debate, the film charts the evolution of this divisive issue within the black community.

Focusing on the aftermath of the Maryland legislature's passage of a law allowing same-sex marriage in 2012, "The New Black" examines how opponents of the law geared up to put the issue before the voters through a ballot referendum - a strategy that had defeated same-sex marriage in other states. On one side, supporters of same-sex marriage included a number of black ministers who believed they were challenging homophobia in the black church. Opposing them were other ministers who believed that gay marriage violated religious principles and who disagreed with placing the issue in the context of civil rights. Against this backdrop, the documentary traces the historical importance of the church to the black community and explores the personal stories of those who, although raised in the church, felt unwelcome when they identified themselves as gay.

The screening will be held in room 126 of William F. Laman Public Library, 2801 Orange Street, North Little Rock. A community discussion led by Cornelius Mabin, Jr., community co-chair of the Arkansas HIV Prevention Group, will follow the screening. Additional information is available by calling AETN at 800-662-2386 or visiting aetn.org/communitycinema.

Community Cinema, a free monthly screening series engaging communities through films produced by the Independent Television Service (ITVS), features monthly screenings followed by panel discussions with leading organizations, local communities and special guest speakers. The program is designed to help people learn about and get involved in the social issues raised in the documentaries.

The mission of the William F. Laman Public Library is to maintain and improve the quality of life for the community by providing resources that enhance and contribute to literacy and foster community engagement with information, culture and civic life.

The mission of UALR Public Radio is to deepen insight into the human experience, empower decision-making and enrich the lives of those we serve through quality news and cultural programs. UALR Public Radio operates two radio stations in Little Rock - KUAR FM 89.1, which broadcasts news, jazz and cultural programs including national programming from NPR, and KLRE 90.5, which broadcasts classical music.

The Arkansas Educational Television Network (AETN) is Arkansas's statewide public television network that enhances lives by providing lifelong learning opportunities for people from all walks of life. AETN delivers local, award-winning productions and classic, trusted PBS programs aimed at sharing Arkansas and the world with viewers. AETN depends on the generosity of Arkansans and the State of Arkansas to continue offering quality programming. For more information, visit aetn.org/engage. AETN is broadcast on KETS (Little Rock), KEMV (Mountain View), KETG (Arkadelphia), KAFT (Fayetteville), KTEJ (Jonesboro), and KETZ (El Dorado).

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