INDIANAPOLIS — On Sunday, the Ross Foundation rented out an entire movie theater and invited young black males to a free private screening of the box office hit, "Creed III."
The Ross Foundation is using the motto from Creed III that you can't run from your past as inspiration for young black men in Indianapolis. The goal is to teach them it's ok to deal with childhood traumas.
"When I saw that slogan that's when it hit me. I was like wow. I thought about my trauma and how to deal with my childhood trauma. How it has followed me throughout my whole journey in life and I can resonate with this movie, this story," said Dee Ross.
"...The higher you get, the harder it gets. That's life," is played in the movie.
Battling childhood trauma and mental health are obstacles actors Michael B. Jordan and Jonathan majors overcome in Creed III.
It's an important topic that Dee Ross is having with young black men across Indianapolis using this movie as inspiration.
"To start having the conversations young. Where I am from, where I grew up there is a stigma and a lot of men who deal with insecurities who don't wanna cry, who feel like they are weaker or vulnerable when crying or show any type of sympathy and we are here to say it is ok," said Ross.
His foundation rented out a movie theater so any male in the community ages 8 to 18 could watch for free.
"Seeing two black men lead the film. Overall black excellence, but also see how Michael B. Jordan dealt with his trauma dealt with his past and how they are able to come together," said Ross.
"I am excited to see Michael B. Jordan and learning how he feels in general," said a 9-year-old.
The only requirement was an essay outlining what mental health looks and feels like for them.
"Black mental health looks different across all boards. I think there is one thing we can agree on is that mental health in general simply for African Americans needs to improve," said 16-year-old Jeremiah Bailey.
Bailey relates to struggles in the movie.
"My junior year now is one of the most stressful years and I still pretend I am strong or pretend that everything is ok when it's chaotic," he said.
He's taking inspiration home knowing men and women just like him are persevering through the challenges.
"I see Indianapolis as a resilient community and then with Michael B. Jordan, it's a story of resilience. It's a story of when things may not go your way and you fall but you still find the courage and strength to get back up and overcome the challenge," said Bailey.
Last year, the Ross Foundation treated young girls in the community to a free screening of Wakanda Forever.
The Ross Foundation is a nonprofit organization founded by far eastside native, Derris Ross. The organization hosts community assistance events in an effort to reduce crime through events such as the No family Will Starve Thanksgiving Program, Making Every Kid Smile Christmas Toy Give Away and the 5,000 Eggs Easter Egg Hunt.
The program is building their roots by focusing on how to invoke long-term change through effective programing to improve youth outcomes and provide opportunities for economic growth for residents.
You can learn more about the Ross Foundation, here.