Dear friends,

“I… Can’t…. Breathe……” The words and the pictures of the last moments of George Floyd’s life as it ebbs away beneath the knee of a police officer charged to protect and serve, haunt me as they will haunt you. They enrage me as they will enrage you. And yet they energize me as they must energize you.

You have partnered with us at Odyssey Impact® to call out and fight injustice by taking the courageous step of connecting with people and communities whose voices are often unheard. You have been inspired by our films, and we have been inspired by your commitment to fighting racism. We all stand in unwavering solidarity with the black community demanding racial justice.

On #BlackOutTuesday, Odyssey Impact® closed to hold space for mental health, as we have done every second Monday since the inception of the COVID-19 crisis. Now, especially as our fellow staff members of color, in particular, face continued systemic trauma, we find these days to be of even more importance. I can only imagine the brunt of the weight held in balancing the onslaught of violence against Black people and the daily challenges of working, parenting and simply existing amongst COVID-19 and more. I am also aware that this emotional load to carry existed before the headlines of the week.

We will continue to honor and acknowledge these moments in the films we make and the campaigns we run. We believe that #BlackLivesMatter and we know that we and our network of Faith leaders and changemakers believe this to be self-evidently true. For those that are still trying to find your voice on this matter, we understand it may take time, but we also believe and expect that infinite silence is not an option. As the Minneapolis police chief said last night “being silent is complicit”.

I and my colleagues at Odyssey Impact® are here to lift up your voices, events, messages and prayers in the face of this violation of humanity. As people of faith we are called to be catalysts for truth and justice.

I pledge that Odyssey Impact® will continue to lift up the films and stories that will shake our nation and root out systemic racism. I pledge that through our impact campaigns we will lift up the work you do. Together we will work to create a culture where hate and discrimination have no place.

To quote Martin Luther King Jr. “We can do no other”.

In Solidarity,
Nick Stuart
President and CEO
Odyssey Impact®

In Memory of Representative John Lewis: A Life Forever Cherished

The inspirational spirit of John Lewis lives on in the millions of people fighting for justice and truth. His passing robs us of a political leader, a spiritual leader and the last of the “Big Six” Civil Rights leaders, but his spirit endures and is in everyone who today and in the days ahead steps out from the crowd to confront the evil of racism.

Odyssey Impact® and Transform FIlms were honored to have him touch our lives and our work, first in a short film, “We Shall Not Be Moved”, where he spoke of the central role of the black churches in the Civil RIghts Movement to “Save the Soul of the Nation” , and more recently when he led a Democratic Party sit-in protest in Congress in the wake of the shootings in Orlando that left 49 people dead. As he told reporters, he was moved to act after watching the film “Newtown” about the mass school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, a film Transform Films co produced with the director Kim Snyder.

The sit in for action on gun control, the sitting in bus seats reserved for whites when he was on The Freedom Rides to challenge segregation, were historic moments. John Lewis was an historic man. He was a gift from God.

– Nick Stuart, CEO

John Lewis’ unfailing commitment to justice and equality called to account the moral conscience of the nation. The course of his life from his birth in rural Alabama, to student activism within the heart of the Civil Rights movement at the side of Dr. King, to his impactful leadership in the halls of Congress shaped a legacy that we must not only honor, but strive to continue. It should never be lost on anyone that it was a deep reservoir of faith that guided and sustained John Lewis throughout his remarkable life. That faith was evident in his warmth, his humility, and always in his resolve. I recollect on a number of occasions his imploring us to “stand up, speak up, speak out” for the cause of human rights, but even more compelling was his charge to cause “good trouble.” To be unapologetic agents of change in a nation and world where so much remains to be done.

We also mourn the loss and honor the legacy of yet another giant in the struggle for justice. The Rev. Dr. C.T. Vivian whose light was never dimmed even in the face of brutality and beatings at the hands of law enforcement and others. He never wavered, and he never let the cruelty of systemic racism avert his eyes from the prize.

As we honor the blessed memory of both of these brave soldiers for justice, may we be inspired to greater works and to “good trouble.”

– Derrick Harkins, Board Chair

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