Two years ago, in our quest to assess our community’s perception of our organization, the Ragtag Film Society initiated conversations with a number of community members and organizations. We found that the best way to diversify our cinema audience is to not only represent different perspectives on screen but to also invite different groups to contribute and inform our programming. It was out of these discussions that RFS formalized its approach to community relations; launching the Show Me Series with our inaugural group of Community Partners: the Asian Affairs Center at the University of Missouri, Boone County Community Against Violence, the Center Project, Four Directions at the University of Missouri, and Rock the Community. This series has hosted conversations around how the history, culture, and politics of Pacific Rim nations contribute to Asian identities; how violence can affect the psyche of a community and the steps we can take to heal collectively; what it means to be queer in Mid-Missouri and the ways in which it can be celebrated; the history, heritage, and culture of Indigenous Peoples; and what outreach and community support of families and people of color looks like.
With our Community Partners as experts, we were able to bear witness to a diversifying and increasingly media literate Ragtag audience. We saw new faces, shifting perspectives, and a cinema increasingly characterized by various communities. When it comes to these Community Partners, discussion topics are endless, conversations are continuous, and progress is always pursued. However, we began to ask ourselves: “what have we not yet talked about?”, “what new perspectives can we bring to our audience?”, and “how can we continue to grow?”
And so two years later, we sought new Community Partnerships that have the potential to challenge our cinema audience. After months of conversations with local organizations, we are proud to announce RFS’s 2023-2025 Community Partners:
Mixed at Mizzou is the first on-campus community for students who identify as Mixed: those having two or more racial, ethnic, and/or cultural backgrounds. By uniting students of all backgrounds, MAM seeks to empower individuals to embrace their unique identity while celebrating the multitude of identities surrounding them. Likewise, MAM envisions the improved treatment of all marginalized people through campus and community education and shared action with other multicultural organizations. Mixed at Mizzou presents Passing for their first Show Me Series event.
The Michael A. Middleton Center for Race, Citizenship, and Justice is a multi-disciplinary research center that encourages collaborative discourse around the Center’s three core research pillars: race, citizenship and justice.
Missouri River Relief is a community, volunteer, and equipment-based not-for-profit organization dedicated to connecting people to the Missouri River through hands-on river cleanups, education events, and stewardship activities.
The Cambio Center leads research and outreach on Latines, immigrant integration, and communities undergoing demographic change. To understand processes of integration and support changing communities, the Center leads interdisciplinary research that spans fields as diverse as psychology, community development, economics, health, etc... To ensure that research is meaningful to communities and their leaders, Cambio Center outreach efforts bring together academics, students, and practitioners to discuss findings and exchange best practices.
City of Refuge was created to help refugees and immigrants recover and regain control of their lives. They provide basic need programs and professional development opportunities for those in our community. Their goal is to equip those arriving in our community with the materials they need, as well as deeper friendships they can count on as they navigate a new life in the United States.While we will miss working with our 2021-2023 cohort, we are incredibly excited to work with this new group of Community Partners. We are looking forward to learning from and collaborating with them—harnessing film and art to foster an increased sense of community among our Ragtag audience.