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THEIR STORIES Powered By Docstoc
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National Black Programming Consortium Presents FACES of CHANGE

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Executive Produced by award winning filmmaker Stanley Nelson, FACES OF CHANGE is the story of human rights activists from five countries who relay unique video dispatches from their respective corners of the world and find a common voice denied them because of their social, racial, gender or ethnic background. Their intimate videos capture their hopes and dreams, echoing the nature of our common humanity. The result is a gripping tapestry of personal stories unlike anything audiences have ever seen.

Move Us Out Now – Elodia Blanco

I had breast tumors, uterine tumors, digestive problems, and then last year a radical hysterectomy. My neighbors, my friends -- same thing; all of us. My daughter had breast tumors removed when she was 12 years old… You can’t tell me it’s not in the air.

For more than 50 years, the city of New Orleans used the Agriculture Street Landfill as a major site for chemical, construction, and toxic waste disposal. Beginning in the late 70s, the City covered over the site and built housing subdivisions for more than 900 low-income families, mostly African-American. One family was that of Elodia Blanco, a divorced mother of three who moved to Agriculture Street in 1981 under a first-time homeowners program. After repeated illnesses, Elodia and her neighbors successfully lobbied the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to investigate in 1992. In its published findings, the EPA reported having detected more than 151 toxins on the site and placed Ag Street on the EPA Superfund list. But for Elodia’s family and others on Ag Street, it is late. Many of her neighbors have already developed cancer, tumors and respiratory problems; some have died. As of today, Elodia’s property is worthless, and her health continues to deteriorate. Dare to Hug Me! -- Kathir Raj

In much of India, particularly in rural areas, the centuries-old caste system remains unchanged. The Dalit, or ―untouchable‖ caste, are virtually without enforceable rights. Many live as virtual

They took from us everything, the so-called higher castes have taken everything from the enslaved castes. Our self- respect, our labor, our gods, our religion -- this is the truth. They have denied the history of the Dalit people…

slaves. They may be physically violated by upper castes and left with no legal recourse. They are barred from all public facilities, and consigned to the most menial jobs -- garbage collection, street cleaning, and collection of human excrement. The Dalits’ plight is determined by birth, not misdeed, and passed on to all descendants, it is said, forever. As a child, Vincent ―Kathir‖ Raj saw his grandfather work for no pay; was prevented from using a glass in a restaurant; was spat upon and beaten. One of his most searing memories is the humiliation of his uncle in a tea shop as he was forced to defer to an upper caste man and drink tea from a dirty neglected cup designated for Dalits only. In Faces of Change, Kathir returns home to shoot his family preparing to drum at an upper caste funeral, an reviled assignment they have held for generations. There’s Nothing Gypsy About Me – Ivan Ivanov

My father told me: if you want to be treated half as well, you must be not just as good but twice as good. Don’t give them a reason to treat you like a gypsy… When I worked in the hospital, I had people, very sick patience, refuse to allow me to treat them. They recoiled from the touch of my hand…
Like the Dalits of India, the Roma, also known as gypsies, have for centuries been treated as outcasts throughout Europe. Roma people are forced to live in substandard housing, attend segregated schools (if they attend school at all) and are prevented from sharing public facilities with other Europeans. Shunned and despised, they are even kept out of public shops, restaurants, and bars. Roma children’s playgrounds are heaps of garbage. Born in Bulgaria, Ivan Ivanov avoided some of the disadvantages suffered by Roma people because he lived and was educated in the Turkish section of town. But he could not escape the many expressions of ingrained anti-Roma sentiment: he has been turned away by landlords, employers, and patients. He has been targeted as a thief on the subway because his was the darkest face in the car. Though they have taken different paths, their father’s credo echoes in the lives of Ivan and his sister. After beating the odds and practicing medicine for seven years, Ivan entered law school to more directly address anti-Roma discrimination. His sister, owner of a shop serving white Bulgarians, insists that her store – and indeed, her person -- have been scrubbed clean enough to pass muster as a true European. ―There’s nothing Roma about me,‖ she says. Don’t Forget Mauritania -- Mohamed Ould Bourbosse

The rest of the world does not know we are here.
Despite being abolished in 1981, slavery is still practiced in Mauritania today. Slaves, who are usually darker in skin color than their Arab masters, are restricted to menial occupations, and must gain the permission of their masters to marry. Mohamed Ould Bourbosse is a Harateen (a recently freed slave or descendant of enslaved people). He is a member of El Hor, an underground movement committed to the emancipation and equality of his people. Mohamed takes us home to meet his family and discover their experience of slavery and their commitment to the ―underground railroad‖ helping slaves to escape the territory or the country. He runs for local elective office on an anti-slavery platform

and wins the mayoralty of his small town. It seems there might be a glimmer of hope for change. Racism, Brazil Style – Naracirlene dos Anjos Rodrigues

For a very long time, Blacks and Indians in Brazil were made to think that we are inferior… so we ended up believing in our own inferiority.
The common outsider perception is that racism is nonexistent in Brazil. Many in the population are mixed-race, and the African roots of Brazilian culture are widely acknowledged. Yet beyond that fragile veneer, the face of racism, both blatant and subtle, persists, and as elsewhere, is closely tied to poverty and lack of social opportunities. As a young woman, the joy of Naracirlene Dos Anjos Rodrigues’s life was membership in a modern and folk dance troupe in Teresina, Piaui. But her dreams, and those of many of her peers, were cut short. Nara was denied jobs and other opportunities because of her dark skin. But what troubled her more was the exploitation and abuse she saw many female members of her troupe suffer because they felt that as Black women they had no rights or voice. She became pregnant as a teenager, and after her mother refused to allow her an abortion, dropped out of the arts to raise her son. After her pregnancy, Nara becomes more aware of the injustice that surrounds her as she becomes involved in an Afro Brazilian women’s theater group. Using her video camera she follows Marilha, a 14 year old girl who reminds Nara of herself. Through Nara’s eyes we follow Marilha’s pregnancy and the birth of her baby. Through the thoughtful and poetic style of Nara’s work, she raises the important question of whether a girl like Marilha, or even like Nara, can ever break out of the vicious cycle of poverty and multiple births they seem destined for. United to End Racism – The UN’s World Conference on Racism The end of Faces of Change brings the five activists together. As economic globalization and technology shrink the world to a virtual village, the age-old problems of racial and ethnic intolerance loom larger, with the promise of greater repercussions for everyone. The U.N.’s World Conference Against Racism (WCAR), held in Durban, South Africa, presented a valuable opportunity to develop strategies. Faces of Change depicts South Africa as a poignant moment of discovery and mutual recognition for our charactesr – of the ways racism manifests, and the pride and dignity of the fight against it worldwide.

DIRECTOR/PRODUCER Michèle Stephenson is a filmmaker and former human rights attorney of Haitian and Panamanian descent. As a filmmaker, Stephenson has undertaken innovative work in both narrative and documentary production. Ms. Stephenson has produced a number of critically acclaimed documentaries and narrative films on human rights and race relations and has trained human rights activists from all over the world in video advocacy. Her film credits include: THE KEEPER (Competitive Section Sundance Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival); WITNESS VIDEO FOR CHANGE (Henry Hampton Award for Excellence in Film and Digital Media, 2001); PLAY MAS (Best Short Documentary Maafa Film Festival 2001. FACES OF CHANGE is her feature directorial


EXECUTIVE PRODUCER Stanley Nelson, Executive Producer, is a multiple award-winning documentary filmmaker well known for using compelling narratives to bring important but forgotten history to the small screen. His film, MARCUS GARVEY: LOOK FOR ME IN THE WHIRLWIND, was named best production of the year by the Black Filmmakers’ Hall of Fame, and screened in the documentary competition at the 2001 Sundance Film Festival. His 1999 film, THE BLACK PRESS: SOLDIERS WITHOUT SWORDS won a duPont-Columbia Silver Baton and the Sundance Film Festival’s Freedom of Expression award, was named Best Documentary at the San Francisco Film Festival, and won an Emmy nomination. Nelson's awards include multiple CINE Golden Eagles and Emmy nominations. His film TWO DOLLARS AND A DREAM: THE STORY OF MADAME C. J. WALKER AND A’LELIA WALKER was named Best Film of the Decade by the Black Filmmaker Foundation. His television credits include What Can We Do About Violence?, and Listening To America with Bill Moyers.

With more than 10,000 hours of programming in its library, American Public Television (APT) has been a prime source of programming for the nation’s public television stations for 47 years, distributing more than 300 new program titles per year. APT milestones include distribution of the first HD series on public television and the 2006 launch of Create™ — the TV channel featuring the best of public television's lifestyle programming. Known for its leadership in identifying innovative, worthwhile and viewer-friendly programming, APT has established a tradition of providing public television stations with program choices that strengthen and customize their schedules, such as Carreras Domingo Pavarotti in Concert, Winged Migration,

Battlefield Britain, Globe Trekker, Rick Steves' Europe, Great Museums, Jacques Pépin: Fast Food My Way, America's Test Kitchen From Cook’s Illustrated, Broadway: The Golden Age, Lidia's Family Table, California Dreamin’ – The Songs of The Mamas & the Papas, Rosemary and Thyme, P. Allen Smith's Garden Home, The Big Comfy Couch, Monarchy With David Starkey, and other

prominent documentaries, dramatic series, how-to programs, children’s series and classic movies. For more information about APT’s programs and services, visit

The National Black Programming Consortium (NBPC), a national, nonprofit media arts organization, is the leading provider of black programming on public television and the greatest resource for the training of black media professionals within the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS). NBPC develops, produces and funds television and online programming about the black experience and, since its founding in 1979, has provided hundreds of broadcast hours documenting African American history, culture and experience to public television. For more on NBPC and its initiatives, visit

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