Williams College’s Davis Center to Host Film Series on Social Change

Media contact: Noelle Lemoine, executive assistant; tele: 413-597-4277; email: [email protected]

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass., August 21, 2019—The Davis Center at Williams College will host a free, monthly film series during the 2019-20 academic year that aims to broaden our understanding and deepen our appreciation of social change. Each month, the series will highlight a mainstream or independent film that speaks to issues across various dimensions of diversity, such as ideology, social identity, injustice, prejudice, and discrimination. The first film in the series, A Decade of Fire, confronts the racially-charged stereotypes of South Bronx residents in the 1970s and their treatment by the government in the wake of fires that devastated the community. The film will be shown on Wednesday, Sept. 4, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. in Paresky Auditorium. Each film will be followed by a facilitator-led discussion. Tickets are not required.

A Decade of Fire looks at the fires that consumed the South Bronx throughout the 1970s, the devastation for which Black and Puerto Rican residents were blamed, even as they battled daily to save their neighborhoods. Bronx-born Vivian Vázquez Irizarry, the film’s central character and co-director, pursues the truth surrounding the fires, uncovering policies of racism and neglect that still shape our cities, and offering hope to communities on the brink today. She seeks not only healing for her community, but to redeem them from the harmful mythology spread by the media that has continued largely unchallenged to this day.

Along with archival and home movie footage, Irizarry tells the story of people who persevered, worked to save their community, and start anew against impossible odds. The accounts she gathers are supported by extensive research, archival footage, print and broadcast news excerpts, testimonials from retired FDNY firefighters and officials, as well as Bronx historians. In exposing the history, and lifting up the stories of survivors whose deep commitment to their homes and communities saved the borough, A Decade of Fire offers the emergence of a new narrative for the South Bronx and places like it across the nation.

To view the full schedule of films in this series, visit davis-center.williams.edu.


For building locations on the Williams campus, please consult the map outside the driveway entrance to the Security Office located in Hopkins Hall on Main Street (Rte. 2), next to the Thompson Memorial Chapel, or call the Office of Communications 413-597-4277. The map can also be found on the web at www.williams.edu/map