Join filmmakers, critics, theologians, scholars, teachers, clergy, policymakers and others interested in the intersection of film and culture, and in the work of racial reconciliation and justice.

Before his death in 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. remarked that while the nation had come “a long, long way” in its quest for racial justice, it still had a long, long way to go.  In this spirit, the Long, Long Way Film Weekend at Washington National Cathedral compares historical and contemporary film, offering a unique opportunity to explore narratives of race and prejudice over time. In 2019, the second annual film weekend showcases Do the Right Thing (1989) and BlacKkKlansman (2018).

These films challenge audiences to face the ongoing reality of violence and racism impacting Black communities. In particular, both films offer perspectives on the intersection of race and policing, provoking questions about whether in fact we have come a long long way in the past 30 years.

Co-sponsored by the Austin Film Festival, Baylor University, and the March on Washington Film Festival, the weekend includes two evening screenings (including panel discussions) and a Saturday afternoon workshop on race and policing.

See individual events for pricing, including student and military discounts. Saturday afternoon workshop free to students; registration requested.


  • Friday night film screening and panel discussion of “Do the Right Thing” (1989)
  • Saturday workshop on film, race and policing
  • Saturday night film screening and panel discussion of “BlacKkKlansman” (2018)

register now

Full Schedule

Friday, February 1
Film Screening and Panel Discussion: ‘Do the Right Thing”
7 pm; $15 ($10 student/military)

Roger Ebert said of Do the Right Thing that Only a few films penetrate your soul. Spike Lee’s 1989 masterpiece is certainly one of those movies, exploring racism, prejudice, and violence in ways that continue to be powerful and relevant. Now in its 30th anniversary year, Do the Right Thing is a milestone in American film, and worthy of our serious celebration and exploration. NPR’s Korva Coleman will moderate a panel discussion on the film’s historical context and explore the impact of this film.

Panelists: Dr. Greg Garrett, Mr. Vann Newkirk, The Rev. Dr. Yolanda Pierce

Saturday, February 2
Saturday Workshop
3 pm – 5 pm; $15 ($10/military, free for students)

This afternoon workshop will explore in greater detail the two films, made 30 years apart, both with elements of race and policing. Panelist presentations and roundtable discussion, followed by participant engagement, will unpack the ways in which identity shapes the way we see film and understand policing in its current context. The goals of the workshop will be to prepare participants to watch the evening screening with greater attentiveness to questions of narrative and context, and to engage the question of how far we have (or haven’t) come regarding policing and race in the U.S. Moderated by Michelle Dibblee, Cathedral Director of Programs.

Presenters: The Rev. Dr. Kelly Brown Douglas, the Rev. Dr. Gayle Fisher Stewart,  Ms. Alexis McKenney, Dr. Greg Garrett, Mr. Elliot Williams

Film Screening and Panel Discussion : “BlacKkKlansman”
6:30 pm; $15 ($10 student/military)

Perhaps Spike Lee’s most artful film, the Golden Globe-nominated BlacKkKlansman examines a historical narrative of race, violence, and law enforcement, while showing how it ties into our present. The movie self-consciously explores the importance of American film and culture, which makes it only appropriate that we consciously discuss its messages. NPR’s Korva Coleman will moderate a panel discussion on themes related to race, film, policing, and our current culture.

Panelists: The Rev. Dr. Kelly Brown Douglas, the Rev. Dr. Gayle Fisher-Stewart, Dr. Mel Lewis, Mr. Vann Newkirk


About the Speakers

Ms. Korva Coleman is a newscaster for NPR. In this role, she is responsible for writing, producing, and delivering national newscasts airing during NPR’s newsmagazines All Things Considered, Morning Edition, and Weekend Edition. Occasionally she serves as a substitute host for Weekend All Things Considered, and Weekend Edition.

The Rev. Dr. Kelly Brown Douglas is Dean of the Episcopal Divinity School at Union Seminary and the Canon Theologian at Washington National Cathedral. She is considered a leader in the fields of womanist theology, racial reconciliation, and sexuality and the black church.

Dr. Greg Garrett is Professor of English at Baylor University and, according to BBC Radio, one of America’s most important voices on faith and culture. The author of more than 20 books on religion, politics, narrative, literature, and popular culture, he is also Theologian in Residence at the American Cathedral in Paris, and a licensed lay preacher in the Episcopal Church.

Dr. Mel Michelle Lewis is Associate Professor of Women, Gender, & Sexuality Studies at Goucher University. Originally from Bayou La Batre, on the Alabama Gulf Coast, Dr. Lewis is a Black feminist queer studies interdisciplinary scholar working at the nexus of intersectional queer critical race studies and pedagogies of social justice praxis. Her current book project, Femme Query: Pedagogy, Pleasure, and Queer of Color Possibility, engages social justice educators, activists, cultural workers, and artists who articulate the power and possibility of femme pedagogies of liberatory practice. Dr. Lewis is currently the Interim Executive Director of the National Women’s Studies Association.

Alexis McKenney joined Advancement Project as Communications Associate in 2018. She provides strategic communications support to multiple programs to uplift the work of grassroots organizations committed to racial justice. Prior to joining Advancement Project, Alexis was a student organizer at Howard University and one of the founding members of HU Resist, an organization grounded in anti-gentrification efforts, community outreach and political education which led the nine-day occupy protest at Howard University in 2018.

Mr. Vann Newkirk is a staff writer at The Atlantic, where he has covered health policy, civil rights, voting rights, environmental justice, race and class in American politics, and the evolution of black identity. He is a frequent media guest on race, politics, and culture

The Rev. Dr. Yolanda Pierce is Professor and Dean of the Howard University School of Divinity in Washington, DC. She is a scholar of African American Religious History; Womanist Theology; African American Literature; and Race and Religion.

The Rev. Dr. Gayle Fisher-Stewart is a native Washingtonian. She grew up in northeast DC and attended St. Luke’s-DC. As with a lot of young people, when she got to the age where her parents didn’t make her go to church, she chose to stray; however, God is ever-working. After running for a long time, she accepted the call to ordained ministry in 2013 and was ordained to the priesthood in November 2015. After 20 years in the Metropolitan Police Department, Gayle retired with the rank of Captain in 1992. She has taught at the University of Maryland, the University of the District of Columbia, the University of Maryland University College, and the Johns Hopkins University. An ardent reader and a life-long learner, she holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland University College and master’s degrees from the American University, the University of the District of Columbia, the University of Maryland, and Wesley Theological Seminary. Her doctorate is in political science also from the University of Maryland.

Mr. Elliot Williams, a Principal with the Raben Group, has worked with elected and appointed officials at the highest levels, serving most recently as the Department of Justice as Deputy Assistant Attorney General. A frequent commentator in the media, Williams has appeared on MSNBC, CNN, and other national media outlets.

Register Now

  • Friday night film screening and panel discussion of “Do the Right Thing” (1989)
  • Saturday workshop
  • Saturday night film screening and panel discussion of “BlacKkKlansman” (2018)

register now