Award-winning “Broken on All Sides” film featured at Sept. 15 WSU Common Reading event

Pullman, Wash. – “Broken on All Sides,” a film about racial inequality within America’s criminal justice system, will be shown at 7 p.m. Tues., Sept. 15, in room 203 of the Smith Center for Undergraduate Education at Washington State University. The public is welcome at this free event hosted by the Common Reading Program.

This award-winning documentary was directed and produced by Matthew Pillischer, a lawyer, organizer, educator, artist, and independent filmmaker. With an interest in mass incarceration and criminal justice reform, he began the film as a way to educate viewers about and explore overcrowding in the Philadelphia county jail system. The project grew into a study of mass incarceration, using interviews to introduce new perspectives and possible solutions for the problem.

“Broken on All Sides: Race, Mass Incarceration, and New Visions for Criminal Justice in the U.S.“ focuses on a theory most recently put forward by Michelle Alexander, an associate professor of law at The Ohio State University. Her book, “The New Jim Crow,” theorizes that many of the gains of the civil rights movement have been undermined by incarcerations of blacks tied to the nation’s war on drugs.

Now in its ninth year, WSU’s Common Reading Program introduces students in first-year classes to an academic dialogue around a single book. The 2015-16 book is “Just Mercy,” by Bryan Stevenson. The program also hosts lectures, film showings, and other events to explore topics in the book. Stevenson will visit Pullman to deliver the annual Common Reading Invited Lecture on Dec. 1 at Beasley Coliseum.

Read more about the program, the book, events, and nominating a book for 2016-17 at Recommendations for the next common reading book, must also address the two-year theme of “leadership and social justice.” Nominations will close Oct. 15.

MEDIA: Karen Weathermon, WSU Common Reading Program co-director, WSU Undergraduate Education, 509-335-5488,

Emma Epperly, Communications and Marketing Junior Assistant, WSU Undergraduate Education, 509-335-9458,