The nonprofit Artful Thinking Organization will present the documentary film Teach Your Children Well at the Art Theatre of Long Beach, 2025 E. 4th St., on Sunday, May 15, with a special guest appearance by actress and comedian Lily Tomlin, who narrates the film.
Every school day, thousands of young people who identify as either lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) face harassment, bullying, and even violence for simply being who they are.
Teach Your Children Well focuses on the challenging issues of homophobia and violence in our schools as directed against LGBT youth. The primary desire with this project is to change the consciousness that leads children to commit acts of violence, by teaching acceptance and respect for the right of others to be who they are.
The filmmakers hope the message of the film expands beyond theaters and film festivals, reaching into the areas where these aggressive behaviors take place: schools, churches, homes and neighborhoods.
Lawrence King, a 15-year-old youth was gunned down in his Oxnard, California computer class for no other reason than being who he was– a gay adolescent struggling to be himself in an unsympathetic environment. His killer was a 14-year-old fellow student. This tragic incident forms the backdrop of the film’s primary emphasis– violence in our schools and, in particular, as it is directed to GLBT youth.
What motivates a young teenage boy to commit such a heinous act over the issue of sexual identity? Where do teasing and bullying fall in the spectrum of violent behavior? Does the school system play a role in monitoring these attitudes? What part do parents play? How do politics and religion factor into the decisions of what is being taught and what is not? Does the media share in the responsibility for how young people perceive and interact with their environment? The film examines how systemic attitudes of prejudice and intolerance provide a fertile soil in which anyone who is “different” can become a target.
In an attempt to answer these questions, the film uses King’s story to explore the troubled mindset that could justify such tragic behavior and how, by ignoring the warning signs, we give tacit approval to the perpetrators. In addition to exposing the problem, the film presents some of the latest solution-oriented thinking on these critical issues.
Showtime is at 9pm. Tickets are $10 in advance, $11 at the door. Call (562) 438-5435 or visit arttheatrelongbeach.com.