Madison Mallards fundraises for local organizations

MADISON, Wis. — Two months after turning the Duck Pond into a drive-in movie theater the Madison Mallards used the space to screen ‘The Hate U Give’ and raise funds for local organizations hoping to help facilitate conversations around race. 

The film is based on the New York Times bestseller by Angie Thomas with the same name. The story follows a young black woman whose life changes after witnessing the fatal shooting of her friend at the hands of police.

Madison Mallards Creative Services Manager Cassidy Sepnieski said given the social climate after the death of George Floyd the organization felt it crucial to get involved.

“Our voice needs to be used in the right way to get the right message across,” she said.  “The beauty of the Mallards is that we’re very community centric. We work and operate on the northside of Madison which is a greatly diverse community and so we thought it was really important to be able to use what we have to amplify the conversation that we’re having right now.”

The Mallards co-hosted the event Thursday night with the help of representatives from the Young Professionals Coalition who were looking for a place for people to safely come together and enhance their learning.

“I’m hoping that the movie is well received and provokes thoughts in thinking about how themes in the movie may be happening in real life–in all of our lives,” said Urban League of Greater Madison Young Professionals President Kurt Rose.

The YP Coalition is made up of a number of organizations in Madison that initially banded together to facilitate community efforts in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Following the social unrest around the death of George Floyd the coalition decided they wanted to expand their reach and bring awareness to the issues around race and police brutality as a unified voice.

“We’re in places where we can enact change and do things to improve our environments,” Rose said.

“The events that are happening in the world right now matched with everyone at home with COVID and having to really pay attention to things–I think the time is now for us to start those conversations,” he added.

Both the Madison Mallards organization and members of the YP Coalition hope the event serves as a starting point for people in the community who may be afraid to have difficult conversations around race.

“We really believe that it’s a good launching off point for having those difficult conversations,” Sepnieski said. “Creating that kind of mindset that we should be talking about these things and that we should be creating action rather than kind of passively waiting to have those conversations.”

To that end a Zoom discussion about the film is set to follow on Tuesday kicking off the YP Coalition’s ‘’Pivotal Conversations for Change’ series. 

YP organizers said the virtual event is open to anyone who has seen the film and is interesting in joining the moderated discussion.

Proceeds from Thursday’s screening by way of ticket sales and 10 percent of concession sales will go to support the YWCA of Madison and their mission to eliminate racism and empower women.