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Loyola screens film on Nobel Peace Prize winner

Loyola press release - April 3, 2009

Loyola University New Orleans Women’s Resource Center, the Women’s Studies and Environmental Studies departments, in conjunction with the Charitable Film Network and ITVS Community Cinema, will host a free screening of “Taking Root,” a documentary about environmentalist and Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Maathai, of Kenya. The screening, and a discussion after it, will take place on Wednesday, April 15, at 6 p.m., in Monroe Hall, Room 157, on Loyola’s main campus.

The film profiles Maathai who in 1977 began the grassroots Green Belt Movement in Kenya, which encouraged rural women to plant trees in environmentally degraded areas. The simple tree-planting campaign grew into a much wider movement, as participants began to realize how the devastation of forests and parklands in Kenya correlated to oppressive politics and history in Kenya. The Green Belt Movement, which defended the environment and human rights and promoted democracy, put Maathai in danger and at odds with then Kenyan President Daniel arap Moi. Maathai won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004 for her efforts.

Filmmakers Lisa Merton and Alan Dater met Maathai at Yale School of Forestry in 2002 and said they were immediately captivated by her strength, charisma and moral courage.

“It is our hope that ‘Taking Root’ engages, inspires and moves you to take actions that further environmental, social and economic justice, for they are inextricably linked,” the filmmakers wrote.

The Women’s Resource Center provides support to the educational mission of Women’s Studies by sponsoring informational programming, advocacy and services and supporting an environment on campus that is free of sexism and oppression.

Women’s Studies, in its 20th year at Loyola, teaches critical and analytical understanding of women and gender across history and cultures and promotes social justice in both an intellectual and an activist context.

The Environmental Studies department offers students the opportunity to engage in a broad and integrated study that develops knowledge, wisdom and problem-solving skills to enable them to play an active role in protecting the future survival of our ecosystem.

For more information on the screening, contact Karen Reichard, director of the Women’s Resource Center, at 504-864-7880 or by e-mail at Reichard@loyno.edu.

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