UMKC teams with KCPT to preview “American Promise”

Provocative documentary examines issues of race, class and opportunity

The University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Education, its Urban Education Research Center (UERC), the UMKC Black Studies Program, and Kansas City Public Television (KCPT), will provide a screening and panel discussion of the provocative documentary film “American Promise.”

The event is scheduled for 6 to 8 p.m. Jan. 30th at the Atterbury Student Success Center, Room 245, on the UMKC campus at 5000 Holmes St., Kansas City, Mo. The event is free and open to the public. To attend, please RSVP.

Film directors Joe Brewster and Michèle Stephenson, middle-class African-American parents in Brooklyn, NY, turn their cameras on their son, Idris, and his best friend, Seun, who make their way through Manhattan’s Dalton School, one of the most prestigious private schools in the country. Chronicling the boys’ divergent paths from kindergarten through high school graduation, this intimate documentary presents complicated truths about America’s struggle to come of age on issues of race, class and opportunity.

“American Promise” won the U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival.

The film in its entirety will be broadcast on PBS on February 3 and be available online at until March 5.

Michele Foster, Ed.D., Sherman Family Endowed Chair in Urban Education Research and Executive Director of the Urban Education Research Center, will serve as the discussion moderator.  Panelists at the January 30th event will include:

Lynette Sparks-Bowen, a clinical psychologist and the associate director of UMKC’s Counseling, Health and Testing Center. Her areas of clinical and research interest include multiculturalism and social justice, consultation and outreach, and psychology and religion. Her theoretical framework is integrated with multicultural models and is heavily influenced by systems and solution-focused theories.

Etta Hollins, Ph. D., Ewing Marion Kauffman Endowed Chair for Urban Teacher Education at UMKC. A prominent and internationally known educator, she is a recipient of the American Educational Research Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award and is immediate past vice president of its 6,000-member Teaching and Teacher Education division.

Kevin Morris, a freelance writer and business consultant. His consulting company, Kalliope Concepts, provides marketing, communications, and strategic planning support to companies and non-profit corporations. His two sons attended private school, one of them Rockhurst High School, before moving to Atlanta where they both attended Brandon Hall.

The film is a co-production of Rada Film Group, ITVS and POV’s Diverse Voices Project, with funding provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) as part of American Graduate: Let’s Make It Happen, made possible by CPB; and produced in association with American Documentary | POV as a co-presentation with the National Black Programming Consortium.

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