Longtime friends travel across Canada to hear from black activists for upcoming documentary

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Longtime friends travel across Canada to highlight the work of black activists and educators for their upcoming documentary, Beyond March.

Mark Holmes, who is black, and Matt Cappuccitti, who is white, have been friends for about 40 years. They grew up on the same street in Mississauga, Ontario, and now live in Toronto.

Holmes and Cappuccitti said they were inspired to speak to black activists after George Floyd, an unarmed black man, was murdered by a white police officer in Minneapolis in May 2020.

“I said to Matt, ‘I’m black and I don’t know what the black community is doing to combat anti-black racism,” said Holmes, who has a background in journalism and film, at the CBC radio. Information morning Tuesday.

Mark Holmes, Matt Cappuccitti and Irvine Carvery are seen outside the Africville Museum in Halifax earlier this month. (btmdocumentary / Instagram)

“So we thought it would be a really interesting trip to go down that road and see what the black community is doing.”

Cappuccitti was immediately on board. He said he felt “great guilt” after Floyd’s death and it made him want to confront his privilege as a white man.

“I did not open my eyes to the problems of our country and that surround my friends… I did not do anything. I feel bad about it. I need to learn,” he said. declared.

“[So] how can we get involved? How can we do anything so that we can push the narrative for other people, black or white, who might be in the same situation so that they can also help in this fight across Canada. “

This desire to help is why the friends decided to travel across Canada to ask black activists “what happens after the protests are over?” And “what’s next for the black community?” ”

Holmes and Cappuccitti started talking to activists in Ontario before heading to British Columbia, and earlier this month the filmmakers landed in Nova Scotia.

They spoke to several black activists and journalists in Halifax, including Brian Daly, assistant professor at the University of King’s College and former CBC reporter; Longtime activist and former Africville resident Irvine Carvery; and El Jones, poet and spoken word activist.

Holmes said they each brought something different to the conversation.

Daly spoke about the portrayal of black people in the media – or the lack of it.

“Brian is doing his part to encourage more people of color to enter journalism because we need people of color on their TV screens and on the radio,” said Holmes. “We desperately need it.”

Carvery spoke about the history of fighting anti-black racism

“[He’s] are still struggling from a historical perspective to raise awareness of what happened in the past and how we can fix it and how we can restore our communities, ”said Holmes.

Information morning – NS8:14‘Beyond the March’ documents black activism after George Floyd murder

Longtime friends and filmmakers Mark Holmes and Matt Cappuccitti travel across the country, collecting stories of black activism in the wake of George Floyd’s murder. 8:14

Jones spoke about the importance of community.

“She brings this understanding that as a community we are together. We are united and that in itself gives us the courage to move forward and persist.”

Cappuccitti said this is what people need to hear to understand anti-black racism and what people can do to stop it. He said he wanted the documentary to help others, as it helped him learn.

Holmes said he also learned a lot, even as a black man.

Holmes and Cappuccitti are seen outside the “A Walk Through Africville” exhibit at the Halifax Convention Center. They traveled to Halifax earlier this month to speak to several black activists. (btmdocumentary / Instagram)

“I felt in my life maybe I haven’t spoken enough when acts of anti-black racism hit me and so here I am, a middle aged man, and I thought: “Well I have you got to do something because you haven’t done too much in the past and it’s time to get involved now. ‘”

Cappuccitti said he was proud of Holmes for sharing his lived experience and becoming an activist in his own right.

“It’s a wonderful thing to see, and I can’t wait to see what comes out of all of his hard work and the inspiration he brings to the next generation of filmmakers who will come after him,” he said. he declares.

Holmes said edit for Beyond March will start in January. He hopes the documentary will be ready for the festival circuit by spring.

For more stories about the experiences of black Canadians – from anti-black racism to success stories within the black community – check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here.


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