On Friday, April 30th, POV was thrilled to be a part of City Year‘s 2015 National Leadership Summit: In School and On Track special evening with President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper Initiative. City Year is an education organization that partners with public schools in high poverty communities to help kids graduate from high school, ready for college and career. The evening included remarks by NBA Legend and NBA Global Ambassador, Dikembe Mutombo, Stephen Spaloss, Regional Vice President of City Year Inc., and Broderick Johnson, White House Cabinet Secretary and Chair of My Brother’s Keeper, affirming their committment to young men of color, and addressing the drop-out crisis. Sneak-preview clips from All The Difference, Tod Lending’s documentary interweaving the stories of two promising youth, were introduced by Executive Producer Joy Thomas Moore. Filmed over five years, All The Difference weaves together the stories of two promising young men as they navigate their lives in low-income, high-risk communities in Chicago. The film will broadcast on POV in 2016, and is part of American Graduate: Let’s Make It Happen, a public media initiative made possible by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting to help local communities keep more students on the path to graduation, college and careers.
Executive Producer Joy Thomas Moore spoke of City Year and the film as embodying one of the Moore family’s adopted family mantras:
Kids need to think that you care before they care what you think. The care that characterizes City Year will continue as it becomes a critical dissemination partner, not only for the documentary but for the extensive interactive community engagement campaign that will be under the auspices of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Through it’s American Graduate: Let’s Make It Happen initiative, CPB has been addressing the crisis in high school graduation rates for the past year by working tirelessly with more than 1000 partners and more than 80 public radio and television stations across the country. In 2014 the nation reached a milestone – as the high school graduation rate rose to 80 percent. That places more and more students on the path to college and family-supporting careers. That’s a huge win — but what about the other 20 percent?
Robert Henderson III, one of the young men featured in the film, serves as an AmeriCorps member with City Year in Columbia, South Carolina and was on hand to talk about the work of City Year and the film. Robert spoke eloquently about his passion for City Year and service, saying:
I hope people will watch this film and see that it is possible for young black men to be successful, despite the odds. It isn’t how you start, it is how you finish. And I hope that those who watch it will be inspired to live out their goals and dreams – and that this film will inspire others to serve – in particular, to serve the students and communities that need help the most. Together, we can change the trajectory for all young men of color in our country – and ensure that every child has the opportunity to fulfill their potential. I am My Brother’s Keeper.