This is the discussion following the screening of the film, "Two Spirits," at the Art Theater, June 11, 2011.
This is the discussion following the screening of the film, "Two Spirits," at the Art Theater, June 11, 2011. Illinois Public Media partnered with the Up Center of Champaign County, to present this screening. Peggy Weyer, Lee Boyer and Sid Germaine were the panel members for this discussion, moderated by Kevin Johnson, director of the Up Center of Champaign County. There were about 90 people in the audience.
Two Spirits, is the story of Fred Martinez, a Navajo boy who felt that he was also a girl. In traditional Navajo culture, a person with a male body who has a female nature is known as nadleehi and holds a revered position in the community. In the mainstream American culture of Cortez, Colorado, however, Fred's dual nature led to bullying at school, harassment by adults, and, ultimately, to his brutal murder. In Two Spirits, Fred's mother, friends, and experts in two-spirit culture describe Fred and the reality that many people express gender across a spectrum from masculine to feminine, both historically and in contemporary society.
In many Native American cultures, being two-spirit is considered a special gift. Traditionally, two-spirit people were healers, negotiators, matchmakers, and caretakers of orphaned children. When the Europeans came in contact with Native Americans who did not conform to rigidly enforced gender roles, two-spirit people were treated harshly, and many were killed, which set the precedent for two-spirit culture going underground throughout North America.
As white European Christian influence spread among Native Americans, the two-spirit tradition all but disappeared from many Native cultures. The forced assimilation through education in Indian boarding schools and increased interaction with white society further eroded the status of two-spirit people and changed Native American perceptions of gender and sexuality.
This is the discussion following the screening of the film, "Welcome To Shelbyville," at the Champaign Public Library, May 12, 2011.
This is the discussion following the screening of the film, "Welcome To Shelbyville," at the Champaign Public Library, May 12, 2011. Jack Brighton from Illinois Public Media moderated the discussion. There were about 25 people in the audience.
Welcome to Shelbyville, is a glimpse of America at a crossroads. In this one small town in the heart of America's Bible Belt, a community grapples with rapidly changing demographics. Just a stone's throw away from Pulaski, Tennessee (the birthplace of the Ku Klux Klan), longtime African American and white residents are challenged with how best to integrate with a growing Latino population and the more recent arrival of hundreds of Muslim Somali refugees.
Set on the eve of the 2008 Presidential election, the film captures the interaction between these residents as they navigate new waters against the backdrop of a tumultuous year. As the newcomers - mostly of Muslim faith - attempt to make new lives for themselves and their children, leaders in this deeply religious community attempt to guide their congregations through this period of unprecedented change. Through the vibrant and colorful characters of Shelbyville, the film explores immigrant integration and the interplay between race, religion, and identity in this dynamic dialogue. The story is an intimate portrayal of a community's struggle to understand what it means to be American.
This is the discussion following the screening of the film, "Pushing the Elephant," at the Champaign Public Library, March 17, 2011.
This is the discussion following the screening of the film, "Pushing the Elephant," at the Champaign Public Library, March 17, 2011. Professor Eyamba Bokamba of the Lingustics Department at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, led the discussion. Jack Brighton of Illinois Public media moderated the discussion. There were about 25 people in the audience.
In the late 1990s, Rose Mapendo was imprisoned with her family during violence that engulfed the Democratic Republic of Congo. Her harrowing experience included the nighttime arrest of her entire family by government agents, the execution of her husband, the birth of their twin sons in prison, and grim negotiations with prison guards to save the lives of her children. She emerged from the harrowing experience advocating forgiveness and reconciliation.
When war came to Rose's village, she was separated from her daughter, Nangabire, who was 4 years old at the time. Rose managed to escape with nine of her 10 children and was eventually resettled in Phoenix, Arizona. More than a decade later, Rose and Nangabire are reunited in Phoenix where they must face the past and build a new future. Rose struggles to find balance in her life as a mother of 10 and a full-time advocate for refugees, women, and peace in her country.
This is the discussion following the screening of "Me Facing Life: Cyntoia's Story" February 24, 2011 at the Champaign Public Library.
This is the discussion following the screening of "Me Facing Life: Cyntoia's Story" February 24, 2011 at the Champaign Public Library. Illinois Public Media partnered with Access Initiative, Champaign and Peer Ambassadors to present this screening.
Tracy Dace and Shalonda Sayles represented Peer Ambassadors and Carol Bradford and Shandra Summerville represented Access Initiative on the panel. Jack Brighton of Illinois Public Media moderated the discussion. There were about 75 people in the audience.
In 2004, Cyntoia Brown was arrested for murder. There was no question that a 43-year-old man is dead and that she killed him. What mystified filmmaker Daniel Birman was just how common violence among youth is, and just how rarely we stop to question our assumptions about it. He wondered in this case what led a girl - who grew-up in a reasonable home environment - to this tragic end? Me Facing Life: Cyntoia's Story explores Cyntoia's life.