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The Hate U Give reflects the heart-wrenching reality for many black communities. This movie, adapted from Angie Thomas’s bestselling young adult novel, gives a rare glimpse into the complexity of feeling pride for living in a misunderstood neighborhood. It allows people from other communities to peer into the reality of life beyond violence and appreciate the values that hold people together. The Hate U Give gives voice to the anger that results from being considered suspicious. This movie is important because it presents an emotional depiction of the news stories that cause many to uncomfortably change the channel.

The Hate U Give chronicles the aftermath of a police shooting. Starr, a 16-year-old girl, has just witnessed her best friend, a young black teen, gunned down and killed by a white police officer. While the world around Starr focuses on criminalizing the victim, she chooses to use her voice to stand up for her friend, her family, and her community. Ultimately Starr speaks bravely for all who live in a world plagued by hatred and racial tension. Due to the violence and use of profanity (rated PG-13), I recommend The Hate U Give for more mature audiences.

As a Christian, I can’t help but think about how the Enemy wants to use fear to silence us. He tells us that we will be ridiculed for standing up for our faith. He convinces us to be silent in the face of bigotry. He whispers mockery as we contemplate praying in public but ultimately resign to silent prayer if any at all. I wonder how many of us are letting our apathy and fears silence us on issues of injustice. Have we been desensitized by the images in the media? Do we have the courage to use our voices to silence the enemy?

For those whose privilege typically shields them from the reality of brutality at the hands of authority figures, I urge you to look beyond the media soundbite and see the life, family, and community torn apart by the consistent dismissal of their God-breathed worth. For those who regularly have to hold conversations with their children about how to interact with the police or ensure that they know to use the video camera on their cellphones, don’t lose hope. Continue to use your voice because the world is watching. (20th Century Fox)

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