Your Fellow Americans: A Collaborative Digital Series on Race, Immigration and the American Dream

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YFA-DiamondCut-3

Presenter: Christopher Cook

Wednesday, 3-3:45 p.m.

Level 4, JW Ballroom Area 2

Hashtag: #yfakc

Your Fellow Americans (YFA) is a documentary web series discussing Race, Immigration and the American Dream at the ground level of today’s society. By encouraging in conversations outside of the polarized, sensationalized mainstream media, YFA enables viewers to understand the impact that issues of race and immigration have on the lives of the individuals portrayed and encourages the viewers to reconsider previously unexamined assumptions.

In our pilot season, produced by KCPT and Brainroot, we posted 24 videos of families discussing Race, Immigration, and the American Dream around the dinner table. You can see these videos at youtube.com/yfamericans.

By showcasing the casual, everyday occurrence of conversation over food, we humanize topics that are usually laden with bias, assumption, and theoretical hype. At the end of each video we ask a few questions, because, really, we believe that if we don’t talk about these things, they aren’t going to get better.

With this in mind, we coupled our virtual approach to conversation with a panel discussion in KC’s historic 18th and Vine Jazz District. As the the talk heated up, it turned into a town hall, showing our community’s eagerness to openly share their experiences with regards to diversity in America.

At this year’s Annual Meeting in Austin, we’re hosting a breakout session to see if other member stations want in. We want to make it easy for other stations to share local stories while strengthening community ties and developing stronger digital production techniques. These are important topics that continue to erupt into events that divide our society (i.e. police brutality against black men, Chapel Hill shooting of Muslim neighbors, and controversy over the President’s executive order on immigration policy) and public media needs to lead the way in constructive discourse.

We look forward to continuing our work in KC as well, adding bits about the economics of racism and homing in on how one’s race affects their ability to attain the American Dream. People can participate in the work that we’re doing by following us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, and, more importantly, by watching our videos and engaging in conversation online and in their own peer groups.

Top picks from the series:

Racism Today: “I want you to see me, not define me by it. Just see me.” – Repass Family #2/4

The economics of racism — Walk and talk with Mayor Sly James #5/8