Calgary group fundraising to take 300 kids to Black Panther movie as part of international challenge

Chadwick Boseman as Black Panther
Chadwick Boseman as Black Panther in 'Black Panther,' out February 2018. Disney/Marvel

A Calgary non-profit organization says the cultural importance of the highly-anticipated Marvel/Disney flick Black Panther is unmatched, which is why it’s fundraising to buy tickets for 300 children to attend.

As part of the national movement, the #BlackPantherChallenge, Sankofa Arts and Music Foundation has started a GoFundMe page to raise the money.

“Now for the first time, black children have a superhero that resembles them,” Sankofa president Marion Ashton said Thursday.

“So the realization that superheroes aren’t just one race, one colour, but are multi-national, multi-cultural, multi-coloured.”

READ MORE: Danai Gurira on ‘Black Panther’ and the incredible power of Wakanda

The group hopes to reserve an entire theatre of 350 seats, to take children, tweens and teens to the movie, which has been called historic, on Feb. 24. With the money, it’s expected the group will be able to purchase 220 tickets. The rest are being donated by private organizations and businesses in the city.

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“I am hoping it would be an experience that would empower them,” Ashton said. “That would give them a sense of pride, that they would see black excellence. That they would see somebody there on the big screen that resembles them.”

The #BlackPantherChallenge started in New York, after resident Frederick Joseph raised US$40,000 on a GoFundMe page to take Harlem children to see the film. He then challenged others to follow in his footsteps.

It’s since spread to cities all across Canada, including Toronto, Edmonton and Halifax.

READ MORE: Halifax activist surpasses fundraising goal to bring black youth to see ‘Black Panther’

The Calgary group felt it was important to start its own fundraiser, which Ashton said will be more of a “cultural evening event” rather than just a movie outing.

“What better way for us to show as Calgarians to show our children that they matter, that we care, that we support them?” Ashton said.

By 6 p.m. on Thursday, Sankofa had raised more than $2,200. The group hopes to raise the money by Feb, 21 to secure the theatre.

Ashton said most of the kids attending are with the Sankofa foundation, but the event was also opened up to other marginalized children around Calgary. She said if they raise enough money, they will open the event up to other children that want to go.

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Black Panther’s official release is Friday, Feb. 16.