The Mercyhurst Institute for Arts & Culture continues its Maria J. Langer Film Series with the award-winning film Fruitvale Station, Sunday, Nov. 10, at 2 p.m. in Taylor Little Theatre at Mercyhurst University. The film will be followed by a conversation with Frank Rodriguez, Ph.D., assistant professor of criminal justice at Mercyhurst University.
Winner of both the Grand Jury Prize for dramatic feature and the Audience Award for U.S. dramatic film at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, director Ryan Coogler's Fruitvale Station follows the true story of Oscar Grant, a 22-year-old Bay Area resident who wakes up on the morning of Dec. 31, 2008, and feels something in the air. Not sure what it is, he takes it as a sign to get a head start on his resolutions: being a better son to his mother, whose birthday falls on New Year's Eve; being a better partner to his girlfriend Sophina, who he hasn't been completely honest with as of late; and being a better father to Tatiana, their beautiful 4-year-old daughter.
Crossing paths with friends, family and strangers, Oscar starts out well – but as the day goes on, he realizes that changes are not going to come easily. His resolve takes a tragic turn, however, when Bay Area Rapid Transit officers shoot him in cold blood at the Fruitvale subway stop on New Year's Day. Oscar's life and tragic death would shake the Bay Area – and the entire nation – to its very core.
Rodriguez earned his bachelor's degree in police administration and his master's degree in criminal justice both at the University of Texas Pan American, and his doctorate in juvenile justice at Prairie View A&M University. His areas of specialization include immigration policy, juvenile justice, gun violence, domestic and international terrorism and multiculturalism in criminal justice. He has published and presented papers at regional, national and international conferences.
Before joining the faculty at Mercyhurst, Rodriguez was a lecturer at Prairie View A&M and at the University of Houston – Downtown. He also served as a police officer, security officer and youth counselor in Texas, taught bilingual elementary and high school, and was a varsity baseball coach. He is a member of the Board of Directors and Administration of the Multicultural Community Resource Center in Erie.
Don’t miss Fruitvale Station, a moving and powerfully acted film, on Nov. 10 at 2 p.m. at Mercyhurst University. Tickets are $6 for adults, $5 for students and seniors and $1 for Mercyhurst students with ID. For more information, call the box office at 814-824-3000 or visit miac.mercyhurst.edu.