Kim Kardashian and Kanye West bought out a theater for nearly 300 members of the Oxford community to see “Just Mercy” tonight at the Oxford Malco Cinemas on Jackson Avenue — and they’re paying for popcorn, too.
Earlier this month, Kardashian West posted an Instagram story announcing her and her husband’s partnership with the non-profit organization Represent Justice to buy out movie theaters across the country for free screenings of the film.
“I was just so moved after seeing #JustMercy that Kanye and I want to make sure you have a chance to see it too,” she wrote. “Get ready to be blown away by the incredible work of Bryan Stevenson and the Equal Justice Initiative.”
Stevenson authored the book from which the movie was adapted as a first-person account of the wrongful conviction of Alabama woodcutter Walter McMillan, whom he worked to free from death row while working for the non-profit Equal Justice Initiative.
After partnering with the Wests, Represent Justice approached the nationwide campus ministry Cru as a way of getting tickets to college students When the University of Mississippi’s branch of Cru received the offer, Director of Local Missions Kitty Hurdle took charge of distributing the tickets.
“I instantly reached out to Prevail because I knew this event represents a campus-wide, ministry-wide and people-wide need,” Hurdle said.
Prevail is an organization made up of leadership from every campus ministry. Founded in early 2019, the group works together in an effort to start conversations about racial reconciliation from a religious perspective.
Prevail member Shay Anderson said, “Our hope is to be a truck stop of resources for all campus ministries to learn how to begin conversations about racial reconciliation. Our main goal is to get proactive about racial issues instead of reactive. We hope to be point people on campus when it comes to racial issues.”
Prevail divided the 280 tickets up among all of its ministry groups to dole out to their respective students.
“Regardless if people attend our specific event, we want this movie to have an impact in this city that so desperately needs it,” Hurdle said.
In order to amplify that impact and open the conversation around criminal justice reform in the university community, Hurdle said Prevail is hosting a roundtable discussion and pizza lunch about the movie on Friday in room 124 of the student union.
“There is no agenda here, just a desire for conversation and bringing reconciliation to this city,” Hurdle said. “Our motto for the event is ‘Everyone deserves justice. Everyone deserves Mercy. My greatest hope is that every person leaves believing in this.”
Oxford is no stranger to Stevenson, as “Just Mercy” was the University’s campus-wide common read selection for 2017. The same year, he visited the freshman class of 2021 for their fall convocation.
“I believe that you have the capacity to change the world. We need a generation of people who are prepared to say things that haven’t been said and prepared to do things that haven’t been done,” Stevenson said to a room full of the then-freshmen. Three years later, the adaptation of his book has made its way to the big screen, so those same students can watch his words unfold.
To RSVP for the Prevail luncheon, text ‘PIZZA’ to (601)613-4492, and to join the waitlist for tickets to tonight’s “Just Mercy” showing at 7 p.m. or if interested in more information about Prevail, text (803)743-2981. The showing is this Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Malco Oxford Studio Cinema located on Jackson Avenue.