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Utah Film Explores ‘Beloved Community,’ Articulated By Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – At a time when civility and peace seem hard to come by, two Utah women say it’s also an opportunity.

They’ve created a film about an idea taught by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., long ago. It’s a vision for a “Beloved Community.”

“Let us fight passionately and unrelentingly for the goal of justice and peace,” said King.

It was a call to action that touched a little girl’s heart. “My parents were very involved in civil rights,” said Marian Howe-Taylor, a manager at Salt Lake Community College.

She was 3 years old when her dad crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama. “I said, ‘Dad why did you go on that march? I was only 3 years old. You could have lost your life.’ And he said, ‘For you to have a better life, I was willing to risk mine.'”

Marian Howe-Taylor and her family. (Used by permission from Marian Howe-Taylor)  

 Howe-Taylor’s uncle worked with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. “I remember!” She marched with King in 1967.

“I have this memory of the back of Dr. King’s head; clear.” Years later, Marian posed a question to her friend Amy MacDonald: “How do we maintain hope in the face of adversity over and over and over again?” said MacDonald, founder of Brolly Arts, a nonprofit dedicated to creating meaningful art in communities.

The two decided to make a film, sponsored by the college’s Center for Arts and Media. Howe-Taylor said, “It became important to me to speak to social change activists here in Utah and to hear their stories.”

The film, Beloved Community Project, focuses on Utah, and King’s articulation of this ideal.

The narrator explains in the film’s trailer, “In the words of Dr. King, the Beloved Community is a global vision.”

MacDonald said, “The idea that it is possible for diverse people to live harmoniously, civically and equitably.”

Utah artists and activists express themselves through dance and storytelling on a subject that’s so timely now. “The protests, Black Lives Matter, all of that has come together so that the timing of this film is really poignant,” she said.

It’s Howe-Taylor’s way of bringing King’s call to action to all of us. “I hope people of character, of compassion, figure out what they can do to promote change,” she said.

She also hopes we’ll learn what children can teach us. “You must want and hope for a better world,” said a child in the trailer. “And be willing to sacrifice for it,” said another.

Howe-Taylor said, “Just a pure, focused expression of what this world should be.”

There’s a virtual live screening and discussion about the film Thursday at 7 p.m.

KSL 5 TV Live

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