Wayne Law to host free screening of documentary

 “American Promise,” an award-winning documentary that focuses on education issues faced by African-American boys, will be screened Wednesday, Feb. 26, at Wayne State University Law School.

An opening reception, screening and discussion after the film are set for 5:30-8 p.m. in the Spencer M. Partrich Auditorium at the law school, 471 W. Palmer St. The event is free and open to the public. Register by emailing brianna.fritz@wayne.edu. Parking will be available for $6.50 in Structure One across West Palmer Street from Wayne Law.

Wayne Law’s Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights is hosting the film in honor of Black History Month and as a way to foster dialogue and cultivate ongoing change in the community.

“American Promise” spans 13 years as Joe Brewster and Michèle Stephenson, middle-class African-American parents in Brooklyn, N.Y., turn the cameras on their son, Idris, and his best friend, Seun, who make their way through one of the most prestigious private schools in the country. Chronicling the boys’ divergent paths from kindergarten through high school graduation at Manhattan’s Dalton School, this documentary presents complicated truths about America’s struggle to come of age on issues of race, class and opportunity.

The film is an Official Selection of the 2013 Sundance Film Festival and winner of the Grand Jury Award at the 2013 Full Frame Documentary Film Festival. It is a co-production of Rada Film Group, ITVS and POV’s Diverse Voices Project, as well as part of American Graduate: Let’s Make It Happen, made possible by CPB.

“Our goal is to empower boys, their parents and educators to pursue educational opportunities, especially to help close the black male achievement gap,” Brewster said.

African-American students across all income levels score an average of 25 points lower than their white counterparts on standardized tests, the filmmakers note. This is known as the racial achievement gap. The group that suffers most from the phenomenon is African-American males.

“All American families want to give their children the opportunity to succeed,” Stephenson said. “But the truth is: Opportunity is just the first step, particularly for families raising black boys. We hope ‘American Promise’ shines a light on these issues.”


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