When Will we Modernize the Way we Treat Each Other?

By TEACHED Intern Zachary Dorcinville

Reading that at least 136 black people have been killed by police officers in 2016 (so far), and that 306 were killed at the hands of law enforcement last year, this gives me a sensation of fear and agony in my soul. The United States Constitution speaks of "We The People" and I believe our country stands for the notion that we, all people, every citizen, will be granted equal rights disregarding race or gender. 

However, the recent killings of black men, most recently of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, shows that others do not share my philosophy. It seems that we as a nation are starting to lose our understanding of what a police officer's true purpose is. Protect and serve? It doesn't feel like this to me.

This subject has an impact on me not only because I am African American, but also because I have had an experience with the police as well. I was driving home with my cousin Kobie after a late night screening of Captain America: Civil War. It was about 12:30 am, and the roads were pitch black with very little visibility so Kobie put on the car's high beams. While we were driving home, Kobie started to reduce his speed, and eventually come to a stop. I was really confused, until I looked back and saw flashing red, white and blue lights. At this point, my heart started pounding. I could tell Kobie was scared too as the officer approached his side of the car. When he rolled his window down, the officer said "Sir, you failed to dim your headlights. Please step out of the vehicle". There were no street lights on this route. If the headlights were dimmed, visibility would have drastically decreased. 

As Kobie was outside the car speaking to the police, I was still sitting in the passenger seat worrying about his fate. After what seemed to be about 25-30 minutes, I knew something had to be wrong. I stepped out the car and I saw Kobie in the backseat of the police car. I started to gasp for air to breathe.

I immediately called my aunt to come to the scene, where now about three police cars were parked. If she hadn't come quickly, Kobie would have gotten arrested for a minuscule offense, of that I am certain.

That night I experienced it personally: our justice system is not where it needs to be. I am a computer science major in college, and I want to help modernize the world. But when will we modernize the way we treat each other, regardless of race?

Posted on July 21, 2016 and filed under Race Matters, Juvenile Justice.

The Effect of the Uptown Film Festival

     By TEACHED intern Zachary Dorcinville

Justice, self-healing, and cultural expression were some of the main themes along with many others presented at the inaugural Uptown Short Film Festival last month in Harlem, NYC. I walked into the theater with my expectations through the roof, however they were still shattered by the impactful vibe of all of the films.

One of the short documentary films centered around a woman who was sexually molested as a child and terrified of being involved in a relationship ever since. In search of a solution for her chronic depression and anxiety, Anita Kopacz turned to alternative therapeutic interventions and self expression, conquering fear and opening herself up to healing. This film sent a strong message to others who have been in a similar circumstance.

The film that left the biggest mark on me however was "Think of Calvin", a short film by Loudspeaker Films' Kelly Amis about the harsh reality of racial profiling for African Americans (you can watch the trailer here). As the film progressed, I was easily able to identify with the crowd which was mesmerized by the provocative and surprising story. As facts were presented at the end of the film, there was a chilling effect felt throughout the crowd, me included. Film director Kelly Amis received a well deserved second place trophy at the end of the festival, and as an intern I was honored to walk up and congratulate her in a big moment.

From left, Michelle Thomas, Angelica Flowers, Kelly Amis and Zachary Dorcinville.

From left, Michelle Thomas, Angelica Flowers, Kelly Amis and Zachary Dorcinville.

TEACHED Update: April 19, 2016

April 19, 2016

On the Loudspeaker: David Johns

Growing up in Inglewood, CA, David Johns had to travel hours by bus each day to access public schools that would expect and provide the means for him to excel academically. 

DJ and KA 1.png

Now, as President Barack Obama's pick to lead the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans, David's mission is to help ensure that all students have access to high-quality schools, whatever their zip code or genetic code. 

We got to follow Mr. Johns to several inspiring events in Washington, DC for this latest addition to our On the Loudspeaker interview series. Don't miss a word in the video here.

WATCH NOW


#CodeOakland @ASU-GSV

We're sharing some "Oaklandish" thinking at theASU-GSV Summit in San Diego this week, where Loudspeaker Films' Founder Kelly Amis will do a Q&A after a screening of our award-winning short film Code Oakland (at 3:00 pm on Wednesday). 

This huge annual event brings together a multitude of innovators, entrepreneurs, educators and othersto discuss, debate and shape the future of education and technology. Check out the impressive list of speakers, which includes Bill GatesCommonSal Khan and one of Code Oakland's stars, Kimberly Bryant.

Code Oakland addresses lack of diversity within the tech sector and shows how Bay Area social entrepreneurs are working to change that by preparing students of color to not just join but become leaders of the tech industry. Watch the trailer here

Tickets for this conference are sold-out, but consider organizing your own screening of Code Oakland and tackling tech equity in your community. 

   HOST A SCREENING


Oakland International Film Festival

The Loudspeaker team was honored to celebrate the West Coast Premiere of the newest TEACHEDshort film Think of Calvin in our home base of Oakland, CA at the 14th Oakland International Film Festival.

Think of Calvin was filmed in Washington, DC but much of its post-production talent is from Oakland: Editor ShakaJamal, Outreach Coordinator Fatima Nasiyr, and Composer Kev Choice all helped finish this provocative film about one family's encounter with racial profiling and its aftermath.

A whirlwind week of entertainment and activities accompanied the festival, with a highlight being a discussion of Oakland's nationally recognized work around African American Male Achievement,with OUSD's Chris Chatmon and Code Oaklandteen film star Isaiah Martin joining filmmakers on stage.

Watch the Think of Calvin trailer here. And click below to see photos from this amazing week. 

VIEW PHOTOS


Uptown Film Festival

Next up: Think of Calvin will be featured at Uptown Magazine's first annual Uptown Short Film Festival. This film festival, set in the heart of Harlem, NY will showcase work from a diverse group of up-and-coming filmmakers from around the world.

If you are in New York, please join us May 13-15 for the East Coast premiere of Think of Calvinand a chance to meet Director Kelly Amis. As you may know, Think of Calvin was previewed last fall at the Atlantic's Race & Justice Summit; you can watch the extended clip and the panel discussion on C-Span here.

LEARN MORE

 

Want to host a screening? Contact Outreach Coordinator Fatima Nasiyr at fnasiyr@loudspeakerfilms.com.

TEACHED Update: OAKLAND SPECIAL

March 22, 2016

We ♥ Oakland! Last year, Loudspeaker Films moved its headquarters to Oakland, one of the most diverse and progressive cities in America. And many great things have happened since...

 

Oakland International Film Festival

We are honored to be featured at the Oakland International Film Festival again this year for the West Coast premiere of Think of Calvin, our newest short film.
 

If you're in the Bay Area, please join us at the Grand Lake Theater on April 7th (tickets here) as we share this story of one family's encounter with racial profiling and its aftermath. 

Talented locals, filmmaker Shaka Jamal (right)and musician Kev Choice, both worked on Think of Calvinwith Kev's original song Blues for Blueford bringing new meaning to the film's score. Check out Kev's music here and Shaka's film work here.

The Oakland Festival will also feature an encore screening of Code Oakland at Impact Hub onApril 8th (tickets here). Director Kelly Amis will join OUSD's Chris Chatmon and Calculus Roundtable's Jim Hollis in a panel discussion after the film program. 

LEARN MORE

 

Meeting Up...at Code Oakland

Hack Reactor has organized the first Meet-upscreening of Code Oakland on Monday, March 28 at its office in San Francisco at 6:30pm. If you go, please post a pic (Twitter: @TEACHED)! Want to host your own Code Oakland film screening? Go HERE. Thanks Hack Reactor!

RSVP

 

#CodeOakland @ #ASU-GSV

We will be taking some Oaklandish thinking to the ASU-GSV Summit this year, a conference that brings together a multitude of innovators, entrepreneurs, policy makers, educators and otherleaders to discuss and shape the future of technology and learning.

Director Kelly Amis will present Code Oakland at the summit, followed by a Q&A that will focus on how Bay Area social entrepreneurs are changing the face and future of technology...and why more companies should prioritize diversity from day one.

  LEARN MORE

 

 

Inaugural Tech Equity Week

Kalimah Priforce (below), founder of Qeyno Labs and the inspiration behind Code Oakland, recently launched Tech Equity Week(#TEQWeek) to address equality and diversity within the tech industry.

We were honored to screen Code Oakland at theTech Equity Week Commencement Gala, with local luminaries Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf,Oakland Digital's Shaun Tai and our fave all-girl band, Sisters Keeper taking the stage!

The packed house honored Mitch and Freada Kapor, whose Center for Social Impact has done so much to support inclusivity in the tech sector.

Read more about Tech Equity Week in thisUSAToday article. For a crash course on these issues, watch our Oakland Youth Tech Expert Panel, who explains them better than anyone.

LEARN MORE

 

Want to host a screening? Contact Outreach Coordinator Fatima Nasiyr at fnasiyr@loudspeakerfilms.com.

TEACHED on Vimeo-on-Demand!

We are happy to announce that our first three short films, TEACHED Vol. I, are now available for streaming on Vimeo-on-Demand!  We made these films because we believe that more people need to understand how and why we still have a race-based "achievement gap" in the U.S. More people to understand the consequences of inaction especially for low-income urban youth who are hit hard by our failure to provide every student with an excellent educational experience.

Fatima Speaks: Meeting David Johns

At the beginning of February, the Loudspeaker Team had the great joy and honor to fly out to Washington, D.C. to hold an interview with David Johns, the executive director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans! I could tell from his Twitter page that I was going to enjoy meeting him, but those tweets did not prepare me fully for how much of an inspiration Mr. Johns truly is.

Code Oakland at Solano Community College

We are excited to announce that the Math Educators of Solano County, along with Solano Community College and UC Davis Caltech Math and Science Teachers program, will be hosting a screening of our short film Code Oakland on January 28, 2016 at the Vallejo Center of Solano Community College! 

Kalimah Priforce, founder of Qeyno Labs and featured in the film, will do a Q&A after the screening. 

If you are interested in hosting a Code Oakland screening to engage your community in a discussion about diversity in the tech industry, please contact us at info@teached.org

Zachary Speaks: Parent Power

The area in which a child lives should not determine where he/she goes to school. After watching the our new video entitled "Because They Can: A Parent's View", I realized that the methods of teaching carried out in the area that a child lives may not match his/her learning style or satisfy their desire to learn different things.

Fatima Speaks: Access to the “Teaching Zone”

By Fatima Nasiyr

In Every Child Should Have Access to the “Teaching Zone”, TEACHED director and producer Kelly Amis interviews Carlet Harris, a young woman featured in our upcoming short film Think of Calvin, to gain perspective from a parent on the struggles of trying to ensure your child receives a decent education when you live in a low-income community. Why should anyone's child have to attend under-funded and under-resourced schools? And why should any child have to cope with a lackluster education just because of their zip code? How does this affect the student's, even the entire family's, future?

We are very grateful for our partnership with Education Post, which helps us share diverse voices On the Loudspeaker and encourage others to engage in critical dialogue on issues of equality and education.

To read our full piece featured on Education Post, go here. You can also listen to other voices we have featured On the Loudspeaker here, which includes interviews with prominent figures such as CNN correspondent Van Jones, performer and equal rights advocate John Legend, and --coming soon--Teach for America founder Wendy Kopp.

2015: Our Year in Review

Some of the highlights from the TEACHED film series in 2015 include: 

An Interview with DeRay Mckesson

New Team Members

The Atlantic's Race & Justice Summit

Sharing the Code of Oakland

Introducing the Future of Tech
 

Kelly Speaks: Time to End Default Thinking on Race

As this year comes to a close, my heart breaks for Tamir Rice's family and to all the many others who have lost children to such senseless and violent acts with little to no accountability or justice to follow.

How could anyone watch the video of police driving up directly in front of Tamir and instantly shooting him without feeling the force of that bullet in one’s own chest?

A Creative Solution to Getting More Girls into STEM

We have entered and are gaining equality in many fields that were male-dominated just a few decades ago—medicine, law, business and economics to name a few—and we are now earning more college degrees than men, but we remain behind in attaining careers in some of the fastest-growing and highest-paying jobs in America.

Girls may bring natural ability and curiosity to math and science, but somewhere between Kindergarten and high school they lose their enthusiasm and leave the more advanced classes to the boys. Research suggests that even teachers may unconsciously discourage them.  

Angelica Speaks: How I Became Who I Am Today

I believe there should be more public schools for the arts. For students, like me, can have a school they can go to. A school to show off their talent and help them expand it more to go further with it. It could be located in urban areas for children of color to have somewhere to go.

 

Writing is an artistic way to get to know a person or to get people to listen. When I write, I try to make the reader stay engaged and feel what I’m experiencing:

Posted on December 15, 2015 .

Loudspeaker Films and TEACHED Join the Global #GivingTuesday Movement

Occurring this year on December 1, #GivingTuesday helps to kick-off the holiday giving season and inspire people to collaborate in improving their local communities and to give back in impactful ways to the charities and causes they support.

 

TEACHED’s mission is to highlight the multifaceted experience of underrepresented communities through film. Through this campaign we hope to increase our outreach of those we are able to put on the loudspeaker. We believe that these underrepresented stories are important and wish to share them across wide audiences of parents, students, and policy makers to facilitate discussion among community members on these demanding issues.
 

Those who are interested in joining TEACHED’s #GivingTuesday initiative can visit http://www.teached.org/donate/ . 

Posted on November 18, 2015 and filed under Support Us.

Zachary Speaks: What Youth Need

Suicide among young people is one of the leading causes of death in the U.S., and most are linked to poor mental health. Adolescents dealing with mental health issues simply aren't getting the help they need, especially in educational settings. I believe that if schools would take the initiative to incorporate mental health services for young people suffering in silence, suicide among teens would drop dramatically.

Race & Justice in America: An Atlantic Summit

On Nov. 12th, 2015, we will show preview clips from our upcoming short film "Think of Calvin" at a tremendous Race & Justice Summit in Washington, DC being organized by the Atlantic magazine's Atlantic Live program and featuring Atlantic correspondent and author Ta-Nehisi Coates.  TEACHED Producer/Director Kelly Amis will speak at the event. To register, go here


Education Posting

 

In DeRay Mckesson on Why Blackness is Not a Weapon, TEACHED creator Kelly Amis sits down with the young civil rights crusader who, since driving to Ferguson, Missouri to take part in the protests surrounding the police shooting of Michael Brown, has since become one of the nation's go-to visionaries on how a future America would look if equality became our true priority.