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Film examines Church Hill group’s aim to bridge cultural, racial divisions

RICHMOND, Va. -- Becoming the capitol of reconciliation is the message behind the new documentary “11 AM: Hope for America's Most Segregated Hour” that premiered Sunday at the Byrd Theatre in Richmond.

Crowds packed the theater to see the film starring the diverse people and culture of RVA.

The film follows Urban Doxiology, a Richmond group formed seven years ago to help bridge the cultural and racial divisions in the Church Hill community.

The film’s title is based on a statement Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said about how the church needs to be more proactive in the integration of our society by creating a new culture where racism isn`t a factor.

"One of the things we're trying to do is say if we actually learn to worship together, then we can understand one another's challenges and problems that happen in our communities,” said David M. Bailey with Urban Doxiology and the ministry of Arrabon.

Along the way, documentary producer and director Sabastian Rogers captured what it was like for the young people from different backgrounds to work and worship together. But then chaos in Charlottesville happened.

“Our main problems were how we were expressing the problems, was people's apathy in looking at what the problems of church segregation really caused,” Rogers said. “When the Charlottesville riots happened, it showed this stuff was actually bubbling under the surface and unseen.”

Using the events in Charlottesville as a learning tool, people tend to be reaction prone rather than proactive to solving racial issues, Bailey said he wants this film to create a new culture that can be made to teach people to love others as themselves.

“To see our intertwined stories, to begin to care and to take care of one another, to listen and understand one another,” Bailey said. “And that’ what I hope people take away from this process.”

After Sunday’s premiere at the Byrd, the movie be shown in select cities around the country where it will eventually be premiered nationally.

Bailey said additional screenings will also happen in Richmond.