The blog of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Jun 25, 2009

Charlotte Video Lauded for Helping Heal Racial Divide

Posted by Knight Foundation

The Souls of Our Students video came out of a Knight-funded project with Mecklenburg Ministries, called Souls of White Folks. Faith leaders exploring issues of white privilege during the program were challenged to carry their new understanding into their congregations and communities.

The video with students telling their own stories about challenges of being different (race, gender and sexual preference) was created. It's incredibly powerful and very well done and received a national Telly Award. You'll not be surprised to learn that I've cried every time I've seen it.

I'm proud of this project because of the vision it took to create it, the courage of our school superintendent to put it into our public schools and the tenacity and know-how of the faith leaders to see the need for it and give it legs to succeed.

Knight's unique community of other funders, academics, journalists and new media innovators may know of organizations or projects where teaching the value of differences and diversity would be helpful, and this is a wonderful tool available to you.

"Are you looking for a great diversity training program for your business leaders? Are you searching for an inspiring diversity video and curriculum for your Youth Group or adult Sunday School Class, your high school classroom? You can now obtain, Souls of Our Students, an award winning DVD and curriculum for your congregation or business or school.

This documentary features 9 local high school students sharing heartfelt reflections on the realities of life in Charlotte, and how it feels to be 'different' in a community that is becoming increasingly diverse. It is being incorporated into Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools 9th grade curriculum to address issues that continually affect every high school student in our city. It is also part of the CMS Teacher Training Academy.

Beyond the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School system, the video will be offered to companies, congregations, and independent schools in Mecklenburg County and beyond to be used as part of their diversity training. The Levine Museum of the New South is incorporating this documentary into its new exhibit, "Changing Places."

Three different facilitators' guides are available with the Souls of Our Students DVD: a congregational guide, an independent school curriculum (sponsored by Providence Day School), and a business guide. Curricula include questions for discussion, interactive exercises and additional resources.."

"Souls of Our Students" can be ordered from the homepage of Mecklenberg Ministries; facilitators are available for groups requesting the program.

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