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, "Bhutto," at the Champaign Public Library, April 28, 2011.
This is the discussion following the screening of the film, "Bhutto," at the Champaign Public Library, April 28, 2011. Jack Brighton from Illinois Public Media moderated the discussion. There were about 20 people in the audience.
Two of the audience members one from Pakistan and the other from India helped the rest of the audience understand some of the issues facing these two countries. Bhutto chronicles the life of one of the most complex and fascinating characters of our time. It's the story of the first woman in history to lead a Muslim nation: Pakistan. Benazir Bhutto was born into a wealthy landowning family that became Pakistan's dominant political dynasty. Often referred to as the "Kennedys of Pakistan," the Bhuttos share a painful history of triumph and tragedy, played out on an international stage.
Educated at Harvard and Oxford, and with an eye on a foreign service career, Benazir's life changed forever when her father, Pakistan's first democratically elected president, chose Benazir to carry his political mantle over the family's eldest son. Her two terms in power saw acts of courage and controversy as she eradicated polio and stood up for women, while fighting the male-dominated political elite, and a nervous military leadership, while battling accusations of corruption and scandal. With her assassination she transcended politics, but left a legacy of simmering controversy and undeniable courage that will be debated for years.
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.