Truth Tellers documentary film featured at University of Michigan racial and social justice symposium
AWTT is honored to be featured at the Racial and Social Justice Institute’s August 2022 symposium at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.
The Institute explains its choice of “Truth” as the theme of this year’s symposium: ” ‘Truth’ harbors multiple meanings within education and educational research. First and foremost, schools, curriculum, teachers, teaching, and learning owe their very purpose to truth in knowledge. Second, the research and scholarship produced within the academy relies on qualifiable philosophical stances about what constitutes truth. Within the academy, there is an on-going debate about the singularity of truth as opposed to the multiplicity of truths—the competing conceptualizations that speak to the ‘politics of reality.’ And, yet, distinctions must be made between the multiplicity of truths and lies. The Institute theme endeavors to fully engage the current socio political moment, including competing discourses related to ‘the Big Lie’ of the 2020 election, the congressional hearings on January 6th, local debates on critical race theory in school curriculum, the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade ruling, as well as the distrust fomented around public health before, during, and after the COVID-19 pandemic. . . .
“As an orientation to doctoral education, the RSJI centers this year’s programming on truth and truth telling through the arts as an educational practice. We center the arts to highlight tools that create possibilities for the truth—for example, by softening intellectual spaces emotionally or incisively slicing through ideological strongholds. The design of the Institute allows participants to engage these ideas in intellectually rigorous ways through a series of speakers, panels, and workshops over a two-day intensive experience. . . . ”
Truth Tellers, Richard Kane’s documentary film about the work of AWTT and its portrait subjects, will be screened on Monday, August 22, at 3 PM . The screening is open to the public and will take place in the auditorium of the University of Michigan Museum of Art. “The documentary is described as: ‘a new documentary film chronicling the lives of courageous Americans fighting for racial equity, climate justice and indigenous rights through the eyes of Robert Shetterly, a long time activist and artist. The film explores the intersection of these issues stressing the urgency of coming together to confront them and galvanizing our resolve to uphold our country’s founding ideals.’
Following the screening, artist Robert Shetterly; film-maker Richard Kane; Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, the pediatrician from Flint, MI, whose research revealed that the children in Flint were being exposed to dangerous levels of lead; and Dr. Natalie Davis will examine projects of truth telling in relation to racial, climate, and indigenous justice. Through the panel discussion and audience participation, the collective will explore several questions, including: What kind of courage is required to tell the truth? Why do projects in truth-telling require courage (i.e, does truth exist without courage)? How can art serve to educate about hard truths?
AWTT portrait subject and educational activist, Bill Bigelow (featured in Truth Tellers), will join scholar, Dr. Whitney Peoples, on the morning of Day 2 of the symposium to discuss the broader role of education in sharing and expanding social understandings of injustice as unavoidable truths. Bigelow is the curriculum editor of the magazine, Rethinking Schools, and co-director of the Zinn Education Project. Dr. Peoples is the inaugural director of Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion in the U-M School of Public Health.