27 February 2019

The Sustainable Development Goals for a Local Community: Moving towards Global Change

As a United Nations Academic Impact ASPIRE member for over 8 years, the ASPIRE chapter of East Stroudsburg (Pennsylvania, USA) used their Sustainable Development Goal training received at the United Nations Headquarters for the enhancement of their local community. The month of February, designated to celebrate Black History Month in the United States, provided the ASPIRE Chapter of East Stroudsburg with the opportunity to work with leaders and partners in their community towards Sustainable Development Goal 10: Reduced Inequalities, SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities, and SDG 17: Partnerships for the Goals.

ASPIRE adviser Michael Healey, NAACP Monroe County Chapter President Thomas Jones, and Courtney Tolino, Executive Director of the Pocono Cinema and Cultural Center, developed and hosted a free community screening of the Marvel Studios film Black Panther followed by a panel discussion. The participants of the panel conversation included members of the NAACP Monroe County, The National Council of Negro Women Monroe County, the East Stroudsburg Education Foundation, and of the utmost importance to give youth their voice in a stakeholders discussion, members of the NAACP Youth Council (SDG 17).

The theater was filled with attendees from across the Pocono Region, teachers from local school districts, professors from East Stroudsburg University, high school and college students, new residents as well as life-long residents to the region. After the film, the interactive panel explored the film’s underlying themes and discussed the promotion of inclusivity, dispelling of stigma, and imagining a more equitable community through the arts. Attendees shared how historic and personal traumas could be used to build resiliency and strengthen our shared community (SDG 17).

At the conclusion of the panel, attendees committed to continuing the discussion amongst family, friends, and other community members. The screening of the film Black Panther provided the opportunity for a vast cross-section of Monroe County residents to come together in one space to build partnerships, engage in substantive discussion, and move towards a more equitable and sustainable city and community (SDG 10, SDG 11, SDG 17).