By TEACHED intern Zachary Dorcinville
When President Obama was elected back in 2008, I was elated because I had a feeling that our country was entering a brand new era in which equality would be a priority. Fast forward to 2016, and it's a totally different ball game.
Cameras are one of the best weapons we have to fight for justice. And someday YOU might be the one who has an opportunity to film an injustice or hate crime as it happens. If so, you'll want to be prepared to think about when and how to film an incident and do so safely.
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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
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?
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.
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.
I was invited to write a Director's Statement about Code Oakland for a film festival submission, so I thought I'd share it here:
We are SEEKING a TECH ANGEL! Are you a savvy html coder & website developer looking for a way to contribute to social justice and race equality? We need a new "tech angel" to provide 3-5 hours per month helping us with email updates & press releases (on Vertical Response) and website improvements (Squarespace and Wix). Must know code (we'll write the content)! Our websites our TEACHED.org and LoudspeakerFilms.com.
Have you ever heard a white person say something like: slavery is over, why don't blacks ____ (fill in the blank)? I wonder the opposite: how does anyone continue to have spirit, strength and hope in a country where this story can happen (and where Trayvon can happen, and Walter Scott can happen, and millions and millions of stories known or unknown to the public can happen...over centuries)?
I know. I talk about this a lot. It's because I have had the honor of teaching and working in black communities (not to mention being "adopted" by my second family in DC) but also because I know HISTORY. On the black-white issue, we have comparisons to make to South Africa's apartheid, but another comparison we need more people to see has to do with Germany and the Holocaust. Michelle Alexander calls what is happening to black men in America a "silent holocaust," and I agree. (Read her book The New Jim Crow if you haven't).
The important question is, I think: if you could go back to Germany in the 1930s, recognizing what was happening around you (or to you), what would you do? Today is Yom HaShoah, or Holocaust Remembrance Day. what a good day to reflect on history and change the future.
What will you do?
Here's the link: http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2015/04/15/closing-the-book-on-jon-burge-chicago-cop-accused-of-brutally-torturing-african-american-suspects/?tid=hp_mm&hpid=z3
Yom HaShoah: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yom_HaShoah
Our newest film, Code Oakland, is already getting into film festivals not just around the U.S., but the world! We have screenings coming up in St. Tropez, Canada and even one in India (not on the list yet -- stay tuned for those details). Meanwhile check out the dates for the Art of Brooklyn, Julien Dubuque, Humboldt Internat'l, "(In)Justice for All" in Chicago and more.
Go to our screenings page for dates & details.
Also, if you're in the Bay Area, save the date of May 9th, 6:30-8:30, for a very special screening of Code Oakland at Impact Hub Oakland! Details coming soon.