Friday, March 22, 2013

SOE to cohost events around the award-winning documentary American Promise on April 8–9

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On April 8 and 9, 2013, the School of Education will cohost a series of events around the award-winning documentary American Promise. On Monday, April 8, at 6:00 p.m. in the Rackham Amphitheatre (915 E. Washington Street, fourth floor) there will be a free public screening of the film, which provides a rare look into the lives of two black middle-class families as they navigate the ups and downs of parenting and educating their sons. Following the screening, there will be a panel discussion featuring the filmmakers, Joe Brewster and Michele Stephenson, who are also the parents of one of the boys featured in the film. They will be joined by the following discussants to provoke reflection on the film’s content and messages:

  • Che Carter, principal, Pattengill Elementary School, Ann Arbor Public Schools
  • Robert Sellers, Charles D. Moody Collegiate Professor of Psychology, College of Literature, Science, and the Arts (LSA); professor, School of Education; chair, Department of Psychology, LSA.
  • Alford Young, Jr., professor, Department of Sociology, LSA; professor, Department of Afroamerican and African Studies, LSA; Arthur F. Thurnau Professor; chair, Department of Sociology, LSA.

On Tuesday, April 9, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the Prechter Laboratory (room 2202), there will be a forum to explore further the themes of the film. The forum, “The Status and Opportunity of African American Males Inside and Outside of U.S. Schools: Cross-Disciplinary and Professional Dialogues,” will begin with an exposition of issues surrounding African American males in this society from a variety of disciplinary perspectives. Via small and large group discussion, participants will then use these perspectives as a starting point for reexamining the themes that emerged in the film; exploring that which is underanalyzed in research and popular discourse on black males; and identifying leverage points for positive change and intervention. Participants will be encouraged to engage this dialogue in light of their area of study and professional commitments (e.g., teacher education, youth development, higher education student services). Lester Monts, senior vice provost for academic affairs, senior counselor to the president for the arts, diversity, and undergraduate affairs, and Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of Music, and the following scholars will offer insights and perspectives to facilitate discussion:

We are grateful to the following university partners who agreed to help support these events by co-sponsoring them: Rackham Graduate School, Becoming Educators of Tomorrow, Center for the Study of Black Youth in Context, Center for Educational Outreach, Department of Afroamerican and African Studies, Department of Sociology, Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, National Center for Institutional Diversity, Institute for Social Research, School of Social Work, and School of Public Health.

I hope you can attend what promises to be an engaging and provocative film and set of discussions.

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