Pan-African Studies to screen ‘Free to Ride’ film

Olivia Williams

“Free to Ride” is a new documentary that shows what a Dayton community group had to go through to get bus stops in a neighboring suburb through a civil rights perspective.

Kent State’s Department of Pan-African Studies will show the film next Thursday, at 6 p.m. in Oscar Ritchie Hall room 250. 

Jamaal Bell, the director of strategic communications at The Ohio University’s Kirwan Institute for the study of race and ethnicity, directed this new documentary. Coming off the heels of his most recent project, he decided to take on the task of documenting this social issue.

“This film focuses on transportation justice and social justice issues. We are showing this film as a part of the department’s current anti-oppression themed events,” said Cinnamon Small, outreach coordinator for the Department of Pan-African Studies.

The researchers at Kirwan Institute for the study of race and ethnicity teamed up to create this documentary to show a correlation between social class, race and transportation and how people in the United States are affected by it.

“We knew that this would be a huge challenge but we would be able to tell it best, so we were going to do it,” Bell said.

Bell said this documentary is used to encourage viewers to ask themselves “How can I use this film to advocate for my own cause?”

“No matter the audience, they can talk about this film in their own context. This film is starting conversations about equality and the need to build sustainable communities,” he said.

A discussion will be held in Oscar Ritchie following the showing of the film.

“This discussion after the film will be used as a safe space for people to discuss the issue,” Small said.

To view the trailer visit

Olivia Williams is the African-American student life reporter, contact her at [email protected].