Finding common ground

Student's film seeks what simultaneously divides, binds Augustans

  • Follow Editorials

Britton Bagwell already knew she was out of her comfort zone. She's not a film person, she says -- doesn't even much like watching them. But here she was, walking down an Augusta alley with a cameraman to interview a rough-looking guy and his friends.

She wanted to leave, but trudged on. Once she got over the fear, and past the guy's street-tough image, she was stunned to find out his secret passion: ballroom dancing.

He was glad to bust a move for her, in the grandest tradition of Arthur Murray.

It confirmed one of the young activist's hypotheses going into her documentary The Augusta Commons : that, as she found out hundreds of times by just asking people on the street, there are lots of things people wouldn't know just by looking at you.

Bagwell, 21, was moved to produce the 50-minute series of interviews in the spirit of breaking down the barriers that separate us -- economic, racial, geographic and more. She figures if we do nothing, we're part of the problem -- simply by tolerating and perpetuating the long-simmering hatred and resentments and divisions we seem to hand down to each new generation.

She screened the documentary last Saturday at her "The Ties That Bind" festival downtown -- a parting gift to the community she's called home most of her life, as she's headed away to school to study socially conscious theater.

The biggest gift may be what she learned: that behind the various walls we put up, people have dimensions, talents, interests -- and, unfortunately, unwarranted animosities -- unseen.

The lesson she took away is clear: Those divisions can be broken down and common ground can be found, but it takes everyone working together to do it. She proved it not only on camera, but behind it -- by eventually attracting hundreds of helpers from diverse backgrounds on the project.

So what can one person do?

"You do everything you can," Bagwell says. "That's what you do."

One hopeful, energetic young lady has shown the way.

It's just past your comfort zone.

Comments (8) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
johnston.cliff 08/20/10 - 06:55 am
LOL. Who says the ACES has no

LOL. Who says the ACES has no sense of humor?

Three cliches come to mind:

The main difference between a liberal and a conservative is, the liberal hasn't been mugged yet.

If you aren't a liberal when you're young, you have no heart and if you're not a conservative when you mature, you have no brain.

Can we say naive?

I'm glad Ms Bagwell survived her experience without injury. I wish her good luck in her "socially conscious theater" studies.

I hope she checks back in with the ACES in 7 or 8 years.

dashiel 08/20/10 - 08:04 am
Liberals believe government

Liberals believe government is the solution. Conservatives believe government doesn't work, then get elected and prove it.

But seriously, I do wish Britton had left the "s" off Common(s) in her title. Enough people already refer to the Common incorrectly.

jiclemens 08/20/10 - 09:08 am
johnston, at least she hasn't

johnston, at least she hasn't been polluted and ruined by the cynicism you emit every day. May she go on to help make a better world for everyone. Frankly, in reading this, I completely missed the section on liberal vs. conservative.

Chillen 08/20/10 - 09:09 am
She should send a copy of her

She should send a copy of her work the obama administration. The most polarizing president in modern history (of his own doing).

ameliaf 08/20/10 - 12:28 pm
Hmmmm. Five comments. Four


Five comments. Four are about what divides us. Only one sees the potential for "making a better world for everyone."

80% don't get it. Seems to be about right about the way things are these days. 80% far more interested in the "my way or the highway" arguments than we are in the idea that we need to find a way together.

soldout 08/20/10 - 02:07 pm
there is level ground at the

there is level ground at the foot of the cross. It is easy to get along with those who have the same heavenly father as you. Most of the downcast are suffering from the effects of sin and that is an easy fix if they choose to change.

Nightwing 08/20/10 - 03:19 pm
Change has to take place in

Change has to take place in the inner man, or the heart, first, then we can work on the outward expression of that change.

Back to Top
Search Augusta jobs