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Thank You Diane Turner and Remembering Rick Turner!

by November 3, 2020 1

The Meaningful Movies Project evolved out of a community film and discussion group formed in 2003 and held in the Wallingford neighborhood in Seattle, Washington. Neighbors, committed to peace and justice, wanted to learn more about the causes and consequences of military intervention in Iraq. They began educating themselves using documentary film. Soon more and more people were clamoring to meet and talk about important social justice issues and about how the movies that they were watching connected to current events, their lives, families and communities. Thus the Meaningful Movies Project was born. 

As with every great effort, someone needed to lead – to help organize volunteers, recommend films, research screening rights, and more. Rick Turner was this passionate leader. His humility, loving presence, good humor, talent and dedication helped one Meaningful Movies venue inspire others. Community groups from across Western Washington came to Rick to ask for his assistance and advice. And of course, Rick didn’t do this work alone. He relied on the help of many other volunteers and especially the commitment of one important person, the person he fell in love with when he was in college, his wife, Diane Turner.

In 2012 Rick formed the non-profit “Meaningful Movies Project” to provide ongoing assistance to Meaningful Movies neighborhood groups. With Diane at his side, Rick served as the unpaid Executive Director and Board President of the organization for 5 years. 

In December of 2016 Rick Turner passed away. His loss was felt deeply – by his family, friends, colleagues and by hundreds of people across the state whose lives were touched by this extraordinary man. In the last years of his life, Rick was Meaningful Movies’ full-time volunteer. And when he died, Diane made a commitment to continue what Rick had started. She took over where Rick left off and became the organization’s full-time volunteer Executive Director and Board President. 

First Rick and then Diane devoted themselves completely to the vision for Meaningful Movies and to supporting peace and justice by educating people through free documentary film and community discussion events. Over the course of 17 years, because of their vision, commitment, hard work and financial support they expanded this organization from one venue to close to 30 venues. In 2019 alone, there were 210 Meaningful Movies events and over 9,000 people attended. Just as important, Meaningful Movies events provided a space for hundreds of non-profits, activists and community leaders to talk about the work they are doing to support peace and justice. Now, because of the pandemic, the Meaningful Movies has shifted to online events. With Diane’s support and leadership, the Meaningful Movies Project has been able to continue to build community by  providing free documentary film and discussion events and bringing awareness to the work of other people and organizations that are working hard for racial, economic, environmental and social justice. 

In August, Diane stepped down from her roles as Executive Director and Board Chair. On behalf of the entire Meaningful Movies Network, our Board, our volunteers and the thousands of attendees at Meaningful Movies events, I want to say thank you and to say that we love you and that we are so grateful for your dedication, your leadership and most of all your loving guidance over these many years. Your daily presence is missed but we are grateful for your ongoing interest, support and advice! Thank you, a thousand times, thank you!

-Anne Miller, MMP Manager

1 Comment so far

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  1. Christian Roehr
    #1 Christian Roehr 4 December, 2020, 22:34

    Since 2007 I have gone to the weekly Friday night meaningful movies in Seattle’s Wallingford neighborhood. It was always the highlight of my week. Through interesting topics from how money is created (“Money as Debt”), to dire warnings (“What a Way to Go”) to uplifting triumphs (“Return of the River”), I learned so many valuable things that so very much broadened my understanding of the world.

    And I also made some great friendships with fellow attendees. I will miss Diane who has been the heart and soul of Meaningful Movies, alongside with her late husband Rick whose contributions are immense, alongside with the fellow team members who week after week put on a great event. My deep gratitude to both and all those who contributed and are ongoing contributors.

    I wish Anne Miller and any new Executive Director and Board Chair the very best in leading Meaningful Movies into a bright future, as we need good education combined with community more than ever.

    I wish the corona virus crisis makes a decisive turn so that we all can meet in person again at those in-person gatherings, events that now seem like almost from another era. We need community and understanding of complex issues more than perhaps ever.

    May the year 2021 lead us out of this current sense of dread into empowering strategy-making and supportive relationship building and resilience in the face of world challenges that lay ahead.

    Thank you

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