Over the last several years, Paul and I along with dozens of educators, advisors, and students have formed individual relationships that allowed US to navigate the sometimes-uncomfortable creative tension necessary to create Defining US. Through that process, I began to learn how many teachers start their day by seeking to understand those who are misunderstood. They perhaps more than any other collective group have the power to teach us all how to honor difference by seeing another’s similar heart.
Many of those educators have signed on to support the film and participate in the larger Defining US project. New York City Department of Education (NYCDOE) and Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), the nation’s two largest school systems, provided unprecedented access to the Defining US editorial team along with other districts. Experts in bias, equity, social and emotional learning, and culturally responsive education at universities such as UCLA, Yale, NYU, and Columbia also provided access and expertise.
Students of color are now the majority of our nation’s youth. They are still marginalized, dismissed, and plagued by negative stereotypes; and most recently find themselves at the crossroads of a critical debate about if and how students and teachers should discuss race in schools. Defining US: Children at the Crossroads of Change, is our flagship documentary in a series of films that tells the stories of educators and students who are creating the impact and living through the fallout of a country that is struggling with change. See more here from Defining US Executive Producer Dr. Meria Carstarphen.