In the Community

Documentary Speaks to Equity in Education

On April 2 the Hampton Roads Community Foundation will bring a special screening of America to Me plus a discussion to Norfolk State University’s L. Douglas Wilder Performing Arts Center. This will be the the second Understanding Hampton Roads forum sponsored by the community foundation in its quest to advance civic engagement in southeastern Virginia.The community foundation's partner for this forum is Norfolk State University with Norfolk Southern Corporation as presenting sponsor.

America to Me is an unscripted documentary that debuted at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. It was produced and directed by Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Steve James. He is a James Madison University graduate, best known for his previous documentaries -- Hoop Dreams and Life Itself.

At 7 p.m. on April 2 Hampton Roads residents can watch and discuss at no charge the first episode of America to Me, whose name was inspired by a Langston Hughes poem. A panel discussion moderated by Barbara Hamm Lee, Hampton Roads Community Foundation of WHRV’s Another View will help give the film a Hampton Roads perspective. Included will be a Hampton Roads public school superintendent, school board member, recent graduate and a parent who owns a tutoring company. Meet the panelists here.

Posing complex and controversial questions, America to Me wrestles with the effects of race and privilege have on children's education. The realities of high school life are revealed through the eyes of diverse young Americans on the precipice of adulthood.

The 10-part documentary was filmed at Greater Chicago's Oak Park and River Forest High School in Oak Park. James lives in this affluent, progressive Chicago suburb, and his children attended this school where students create a racial, economic and cultural mix.

The high school attracts families of all races and income levels and is known for its dedicated teachers and administrators. Many parents sacrifice to secure their children a place in this highly acclaimed high school only to find it challenging to give all students n equal educational experiences.

Documentary stars Ke'Shawn Kumsa and his mom Danielle Robinson will share their experiences at the screening.

One of the students featured in the film is Ke’Shawn Kumsa, an African-American junior who struggles to maintain an interest in his classes. In the film, we also meet his mother Danielle Robinson, a former student at the school. Both Ke'Shawn and Danielle will join us on April 2 to share their reflections on the film and its impact and to answer questions.

Register now to reserve your spot for this special opportunity to examine the intersection of race, equity and education through the lens of the America To Me documentary. Admission is free, but advance registration is required since seating is limited.

Learn more about the America to Me event.

About Understanding Hampton Roads

Understanding Hampton Roads is the Hampton Roads Community Foundation’s effort to advance civic engagement in Southeastern Virginia. It includes forums on key topics to help build understanding and inspire action that brings people together to help improve life in our region.

Return to all posts

Stay informed. Sign up for the latest updates from our foundation.

More In the Community Posts