The University of Nevada, Reno, held a screening of the Davis Guggenheim documentary “He Named Me Malala” on Tuesday, Feb. 12. The screening was a partnership between the Associated Students of the University of Nevada, the Vice President of Student Services Office, She’s the First and The Professional Network of Women.
The event took place at the Joe Crowley Student Union Theater, and was followed by a discussion on women’s rights after the screening. Everyone from women’s studies students to faculty members took part in a discussion about the documentary, as well as the importance of women’s rights after the screening.
“He Named Me Malala” chronicles the seemingly ordinary life of a marvelous young woman who is a revolutionary in every sense of the word. Known for her fearlessness and never-ending persistence, activist Malala Yousafzai tells her story and provides viewers a glimpse into her life after being shot by a Taliban gunman as part of a violent objection to girls’ education in Pakistan.
The documentary showcases the whirlwind of Malala’s life as she balances being a young teenager in school and a global activist who spreads her message through television interviews and global summits. Malala’s claim to the world stage and Nobel Peace Prize-winning accolades did not happen overnight. Guggenheim depicts Malala’s upbringing in the Swat Valley, and makes viewers realize she has been standing up for others since she was very young.
Aside from all that she has gone through in fighting for girls around the world, scenes of Malala spending time with her family and bantering with her brothers humanize her in a way many do not get to see. Viewers realize how remarkable her heroism is due to the fact that she is so powerful and committed when she speaks at these worldwide events, yet she has a lightheartedness about her that is infectious.
The audience at the showing was impressed and ultimately inspired by Malala’s story and what she is doing to further amplify her message of education equality. The discussion afterward tackled subjects on everything, from feelings about the film to finding ways we could further this narrative of women’s rights in our own community.
Those who attended the screening spoke on how conversations involving not only education, but all aspects of women’s rights need to be continuing. Many in the room expressed the need for these dialogues to span both ways in order to bring about awareness. One point the audience seemed to agree with was the fact that discussions involving parents and their daughters about these particular issues needs to involve their sons as well. Having men and women be on the same page when it comes to education about these situations will hopefully magnify the importance thus leaving more opportunity for progress.
On the subject of keeping this conversation going in our own community, many audience members listed specific organizations they felt were doing a great job in terms of taking on these issues ranging from education to sexual assault. Many of these organizations mentioned — She’s The First, Nevada Cares and the Professional Network of Women — provide avenues for people to not only be more enlightened on these topics, but to create opportunities for those who are passionate about social issues to make a difference in our own area.
Events like these that provide inspiration and opportunities for more discussion are wonderful for students to participate in. Documentaries have the power for viewers to take a glimpse of a certain situation, and portray real-life unlike any other medium. The university should keep up these viewings of incredible films, because you never know who will be inspired to create change and have a positive influence in their own community.
Rylee Jackson can be reached for inquiry at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @rybyjackson.