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‘778 Bullets’ raises broad discussion

Participants: Local history must be retold

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CARBONDALE — A discussion about race presented many different topics and various reactions Thursday night at Church of the Good Shepherd United Church of Christ.

The discussion stemmed from a showing of the documentary “778 Bullets” directed by SIU Professor Angela Aguayo on July 25.

The documentary told the story of a 1970 shooting that took place in Carbondale. Carbondale police reportedly fired 778 bullets into a Black Panther residence at 401 North Washington Street.

The film had many reactions from community members that were in Carbondale when the incident took place and people who have learned about the event from their families.

“It was an excellent representation of happened. It showed Carbondale police firing 778 bullets into a house for how many people … it was a perfect example of overkill, said Caroline Harvey of Carbondale.

The Rev. Joseph Brown said he is glad to hear the community and a younger generation are finding out about such an event that took place in Carbondale.

“Every time I see the film, I have an opportunity to hear people say they did not know about this. The fact that the people of Carbondale have a film that shows them and their history, that brings it up to another level,” Brown said.

He added, “The film has sparked so much conversation and so much energy all over Southern Illinois.”

Brown, a Jesuit priest and an SIU professor, said he doesn’t know what society should do next, it must keep the story going because the story is here to be told.

Such meetings give people a forum to express their frustrations, concerns, or anything they wish to say, participants said.

A main theme that was discussed was the fact most people are afraid to stand up and speak out.

“Most people are scared to even walk up and talk to somebody they have never met before, much less speak up about racial issues. It is easier for people to stand back and do nothing. But at these meetings, that person can have a voice with support behind them,” Harvey said.

There will be another meeting at the church October 3.


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