First of all, thank you for taking on this important job! We hope that these suggestions will be helpful to you as you a screening and discussion session.

  1. Purpose. The purpose of these sessions are to talk about how race affects the juvenile justice system and what we can do about it– not to critique the video or to enter into a broad discussion about every manifestation of racism in America. Facilitators are necessary to steer the conversation back to the core issues.
  2. Publicize the Screening and Discussion.  A pre-made flyer is on the website which can be edited for the location and time of your event.  In addition, a two-minute trailer is also available to share electronically.
  3. Get organized. Make copies of the Sign in sheets and Action Plan handouts. You can also make copies of the Further Resources or any of our other materials – or simply refer people to the website for more info.
  4. Scope out the venue ahead of time. See what options you have for darkening the room and showing the documentary on a screen or wall, and make sure you have the equipment to show the film. The video lives online; is the equipment internet-enabled?  Are there parking restrictions that you should note in the invitation? 
  5. Housekeeping. It’s good to get some housekeeping done right after people arrive. Let people know where the restrooms and refreshments are. Give a general idea of when the session will end.
  6. Ground Rules. Establish some ground rules for your discussion like: disagreement is fine, so long as it’s respectful; let’s not interrupt each other, etc.  It is strong encouraged to put the rules up in a spot where everyone can see them.
  7. Co-Facilitate when possible. JDAI Massachusetts encourages that two trained facilitators are used to ensure a productive discussion. Email if you need the help of one or more facilitators.  A complete facilitator’s guide is available on the JDAI website at
  8. Make sure everyone is heard. Remember the kid who always jumped in with an answer without raising his or her hand? That kid grew up and may well be at your forum. Say something like: “Great. I’ll get back to you in a moment, but let’s hear from some other folks.”

The Juvenile Detention Alternative Initiative (JDAI) in Massachusetts works to ensure that “the right youth, is in the right place, for the right reasons.”

This information is provided by the Massachusetts Juvenile Detention Alternative Initiative.