Politics through videos, potlucks

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Linda Lewis knows exactly how many days are left until the Nov. 2 presidential elections: 40.

She knows that she has exactly 40 days to educate people about the issues.

In the next 40 days, she will host potlucks and discussion forums, but most importantly, she and the other founders of the Steamboat Springs Peace and Justice Center will host a film series geared as a kind of countdown to Nov. 2.

"Our mission is to education and inspire people to participate in our democracy," Lewis said.

The Peace and Justice Center was born two years ago, out of conversations over coffee that included Sandra Sherrod, Summer Laws and Lewis at the Epilogue Book Co. Since then, the group has opened a small lending library full of books, political bumper stickers and periodicals including In These Times, The Nation and Yes! Magazine.

The group hosted a film series in 2003 and again this summer. Organizers plan to make it a seasonal tradition.

This free film series begins tonight with a Kerry/Bush informational evening titled, "You decide."

In Room 200 of Bogue Hall on the Colorado Mountain College campus, the group will screen promotional videos from the John Kerry and President Bush campaigns, followed by a CNN piece reviewing Bush's four years in office. After the videos, snacks and refreshments will be provided and the meeting will be open to discussion.

"I would like us to look at the bigger perspective than just (the price) of prescription drugs," Lewis said. "I want us to look at how our choice on Election Day affects the whole world, not just the United States."

The film series will continue Oct. 8 with a video by the people of Iraq discussing how they view themselves, Lewis said.

"The video was produced and released by the Mennonites. They have a tradition of promoting peace and understanding."

On Oct. 22, the group will show "Outfoxed," a documentary examining the not-so-"fair and balanced" journalism of the Fox News Network. The group also will show a video by Amy Goodman of the radio program "Democracy Now."

The series continues through Nov. 19, when the group shows "Affluenza" as a kick-off for Buy Nothing Day. Buy Nothing Day is an anti-consumerism holiday held the day after Thanksgiving and celebrated by the willing, Lewis said.

The group also is planning a voting party for the evening of Election Day. The party will begin at 5 p.m. with free shuttles so people can get to the polls. The location is yet to be announced. For more information, call 879-8691.

-- To reach Autumn Phillips call 871-4210

or e-mail aphillips@steamboatpilot.com

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