Sponsored by the School of Media Studies and the School of Undergraduate Studies at The New School, the Creatively Speaking Film Series, JustFilms of the Ford Foundation, and Amnesty International USA.
A discussion with Rachel Lyons, filmmaker; Steven W. Hawkins, Executive Director, Amnesty International; Jeff Smith, assistant professor of urban policy at the Milano School of International Affairs, Management, and Urban Policy; Linda Sarsour, National Director Arab American Association; and Michelle Materre, assistant professor, School of Media Studies.
The documentary Hate Crimes in the Heartland is a groundbreaking exploration of the media's coverage of hate crimes spanning 90 years in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The film reveals the extremes of racial tension in America's heartland, told through the eyes of survivors of the 1921 Race Riot and the 2012 "Good Friday Murders." Due to the fact that the events of 1921 were wiped from local and national record, identifying and locating living survivors of the riots was a critical obstacle. Furthermore, covering the ongoing murder trial required thoughtful precision to provide accurate context to the story. Finally, the nature of the 24-hour news cycle creates an urgent need to keep the events in Tulsa fresh in the nation's media. Education and outreach are critical to raise awareness of ongoing racial inequality and hate crime. At a time when racial tensions in America have never been higher, the tragic events in Tulsa deserve in-depth historical analysis to explain the significance of each moment and clearly illustrate the transformation of racial unrest to violence, of denial to concealment, blocking the path toward resolution and healing. Hate Crimes in the Heartland scrutinizes American society's racialized context for interpreting facts in the media - one which values white lives more than black lives. Through the personal accounts of survivors, witnesses, journalists, and lawmakers, Hate Crimes in the Heartland enriches the public understanding of the underlying tension in America's heartland, exposing injustices that occurred and giving a voice to those whose perspectives would otherwise remain unheard.
Location: The Auditorium at 66 West 12th Street, Alvin Johnson/J.M. Kaplan Hall.
Steven W. Hawkins
Executive Director, Amnesty International
Michelle Materre earned a M.Ed in Educational Media from Boston College and has a professional background spanning more than 25 years experience as film producer, writer, arts administrator, and distribution and marketing specialist. She is an Assistant Professor of Media Studies and Film and where she has taught since 2001. She is formering the Associate Dean of the School of Undergraduate Studies at NSPE. Professor Materre teaches courses such as Race, Ethnicity and Class in Media, Demystifying Distributing, Storytelling through Visual Analysis, and Movements in World Cinema I. In 2005 she received The Distinguished University Teaching award. Early in her career, she was a staff writer/producer for Henry Hampton's Blackside Productions, and an assistant story editor for MGM/UA in the feature film division. As a founding partner of KJM3 Entertainment Group, Inc., a film distribution and marketing company that specialized in multicultural film and television projects, she directly managed the marketing and positioning of 23 films including the successful theatrical release of Daughters of the Dust, the highly acclaimed film by Julie Dash. She is a current board member of Women Make Movies, a former board member of New York Women in Film and Television, and her film series, Creatively Speaking(TM), has recently been named as the primary programming partner for independent film at the new MIST Harlem Entertainment venue.
National Director Arab American Association
Jeff Smith is Assistant Professor of Politics and Advocacy at Milano School of International Affairs, Management, and Urban Policy, from The New School. Jeff, who has taught political science at Washington University and Dartmouth College, teaches and researches political campaigns, urban political economy, policy advocacy, and the legislative process. At Washington University, he received the Dean's Award for Teaching Excellence.
Jeff served in the Missouri Senate from 2006-2009, representing inner-city St. Louis, where he co-founded a group of charter schools called the Confluence Academies. Trading Places, his Ph.D. thesis on U.S. partisan realignment from 1975-2004, was recently published as a book, and he is currently completing a book manuscript about the politics of prison reform. In addition to writing for political science journals, he is an advice columnist for New York political publication City and State, and frequently addresses audiences of public officials on ethics in politics.
Jeff has appeared on CBS, CNN, MSNBC, and Current, and has been profiled by NPR's This American Life, Harper's, The New Republic, and other periodicals. He recently gave a TED talk on prison entrepreneurship, and has published op-ed pieces for CNN, The Atlantic, Inc., National Journal, Salon, Politico, New York Magazine, Buzzfeed, the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, Washington Examiner, and St. Louis Post-Dispatch. His youth-powered grass-roots congressional campaign was chronicled in the film Can Mr. Smith Get to Washington Anymore?, which was short-listed for an Academy Award.