20 dedicated students within Villanova’s Social Justice Documentary Program are set to launch their debut film “Rise and Shine.”
The documentary explores inner-city and global education, paying particular attention to the oppressive structural forces that are hindering students of low socioeconomic and minority backgrounds from obtaining the same resources as their affluent counterparts. The production company’s name, Five1Four9, tells part of the story: it’s the distance in miles between two students – one living in Cape Coast, Ghana and attending The Heritage Academy, and the other living in North Philly attending Strawberry Mansion High School. Through the documentary and their work to raise awareness about the issues associated with it, the students are hoping to spark dialogue about the lasting effects of slavery in the U.S. and its parallels with the British colonization in Ghana. Linked directly by the trans-Atlantic slave trade, both countries were affected by similar oppressive forces and the students believe it’s important to explore these issues while keeping in mind that although they are in Philadelphia they are also part of a global community.
Villanova University will also be hosting a “Rise and Shine” Education Conference on April 13th to discuss relevant matters of social justice and education. They’ll be hosting speakers and facilitating panel discussions on current issues of inequality in education that contribute to today’s achievement gap – such as white privilege and institutionalized racism, for example. They’ll also focus on the current state of public education, how it got to where it is and how it can move forward.
The documentary will premiere in Philadelphia at The Ritz East on May 2nd, 2013. Those interested in helping to fund the final leg of the product as well as its continued distribution can donate here. Here’s the trailer. Enjoy: