by Constanze, Janasia, Mason & Roz
On Wednesday, the YES! Charlotte office went to the Bank of America Center for the private screening of America To Me – Episode 8. “America to Me” is a ten-part documentary series, airing on the Starz movie network, that showcases the segregation and race related issues in high schools across the country.
This documentary shows how the students at an elite public high school in Chicago, Oak Park and River Forest High School, manage the stress of being high school students while also facing segregation issues at school. This documentary brought very important issues to light, including some ways the students and teachers work to overcome these issues, like creating a Hip-Hop club where students get together and rap, sing and even make beats. The episode we screened did a really good job of highlighting racial issues and we appreciate that because even though at YES! we talk a lot about how race and racism impact peoples’ lives, a lot of other people might not know. It was good to see real-life impacts of these inequities and it gave us and hopefully others a better understanding of them. Lastly, this documentary displays the importance of staying involved within your community.
The documentary was great, what was even better were the amazing people in attendance. Before the screening started you could see people were excited to be in that environment and have youth present. The reception before the screening was a great opportunity to tell others what YES! is all about and how we aim to combat inequities on a day to day basis using our racial equity lens. We had the opportunity to talk to some pretty amazing and influential people at the event like Vi Lyles (the Mayor of Charlotte), Anthony Foxx (the former Mayor and Former US Secretary of Transportation), Braxton Winston ( a current City Council member) and Tierra (one of the high school students from the documentary). We also got to meet great Bank of America staff, teachers, and other people who care about justice. After watching the documentary, we were all super excited and agreed to sign up as a host “Watch Party Site” where we would invite other students and community members to come, watch, and discuss all the episodes as a fun, interactive way to spread the word about the documentary, racial inequities, and YES!.