The AFT and The Weinstein Company brought the story of Nelson Mandela's life and his message of social justice, reconciliation and leadership to Los Angeles public high school students with a Nov. 21 screening of the film "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom" and a conversation afterward with AFT President Randi Weingarten and Harvey Weinstein, co-chairman of The Weinstein Company.
"The message of this great man and his incredible life should not be lost on this generation," Weingarten says. "Film can be a phenomenal educational tool, and this film touches on the universal themes of fear, oppression, hope, reconciliation and forgiveness."
The AFT has posted lesson plans related to the movie on its Share My Lesson website. Share My Lesson—available at no charge for educators—offers lengthy clips from "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom" and several Common Core-aligned lesson plans for English language arts and world history classes. "Using engaging curriculum like the Mandela lessons is one way we can reclaim the promise of public education for all children," Weingarten says.
"This film was never just about making a movie," says Harvey Weinstein, co-chairman of The Weinstein Company. "We knew from the beginning that it would be linked to a bigger cause, a broader call to action, something that would be truly worthy of the name Mandela. We're thrilled to work with AFT and Los Angeles Unified School District to make sure as many students as possible see this film and learn this story."
Adapted from Mandela's autobiography, "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom" tells the incredible story of one of the most beloved and dynamic leaders of the 20th century. The film—in its depiction of life under the apartheid regime in South Africa, Mandela's fight for equality, his 27-year imprisonment, and his election to the presidency—truly brings Mandela's story to life, making it an ideal teaching tool. Additionally, it recreates pivotal historic moments such as the Sharpeville Massacre and the Sophiatown relocation, giving student audiences a front-row seat to the important history of modern South Africa.
On Nov. 21, about 350 Los Angeles high school students attended a screening of the film and then participated in a discussion about the film and its message with Weingarten and Weinstein. A similar event will take place in New York on Nov. 26. The movie opens in select cities Nov. 29, with a nationwide release Dec. 25.
In addition, teachers across the country can enter a Share My Lesson contest to win a package of 30 tickets to the movie for their students. To enter, teachers must register, free of charge, to join Share My Lesson; download a lesson from the Mandala curriculum; and then sign up for the contest.
[AFT press release, The Weinstein Company press release, Share My Lesson]
Nov. 20, 2013