By Mike Kinney
Forty students from Nystrom Elementary in Richmond were treated to a special premiere screening of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, at AMC Bay Street in Emeryville on Wednesday, Nov. 9.
The trip came courtesy of The Calculus Roundtable, a Richmond-based nonprofit that provides math programs to underserved students. The students in attendance are members of the Mafanikio Academic Program, an after-school program at Nystrom that teaches math coding and STEM to students.
Shurston McElroy, an outreach worker from Independent Holiness Church, along with Rev. Andre Shumake, a church member and the site coordinator for the Mafanikio Academic Program, partnered with parent volunteers and Nystrom staff to make the movie experience happen.
“The Calculus Roundtable blessed us with tickets along with free popcorn and drinks so we could take the children,” McElroy said.
Shumake said the underserved children took advantage of an opportunity they don’t often receive.
“We were really excited about the partnership between Mafanikio Academic Program and Independent Holiness Church getting the kids over to Emeryville to see the movie,” he said.
A group of 15 Nystrom staff members and parent volunteers joined the children at the premiere. West Contra Costa Unified School District Superintendent Dr. Kenneth Hurst and his wife also attended the film, which is celebrated for being the first big-budget superhero movie franchise featuring a Black hero, director and majority Black cast.
“The film was empowering for our kids to see,” McElroy said. “The portrayal of Brown and Black actors in a positive light is right and important.”
Shumake described the film as high-energy and delivering on positivity for the kids. Teachers said kids reported the next day on the film with a high level of enthusiasm.
“The joy that is brought to our kids, was simply wonderful,” Shumake said. “The smiles said it all.”