June screenings in the Bank of America Free Thursday Film Series initiate Becoming American: A Documentary Film and Discussion Series on our Immigration Experience. This six-week series is a project of City Lore, a cultural center for the arts and humanities based in New York City. It is funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities as part of NEH’s Community Conversations initiative, and features documentary film screenings and scholar-led discussions designed to encourage an informed discussion of immigration issues against the backdrop of our immigration history.
The National Hispanic Cultural Center is one of 24 organizations selected nationwide to participate in the Becoming American project. The scholar/moderator for the screenings and discussions at the Center is Dr. Gabriel Sanchez, Professor of Political Science at the University of New Mexico. The theme for Unit Two, presented on June 28, is “Promise and Prejudice.”
The powerful documentary Welcome to Shelbyville focuses on a small Tennessee town in the heart of the Bible Belt as it grapples with discrimination in the face of changing demographics. Shelbyville’s long-time residents are challenged with how to best integrate the recent arrival of hundreds of Somali refugees of Muslim faith, hired by the local Tyson chicken-processing plant. As the town erupts in controversy, we hear from all parts of the community: Latino workers grappling with their own immigrant identity; longtime African American residents balancing perceived threats to their livelihood against the values they learned from their own civil rights struggles; the Somali refugees attempting to make new lives for their families and maintain their dignity in a hostile new land; and white civic and church leaders who are attempting to guide their congregations and citizens through a period of unprecedented change.
2010; directed by Kim A. Snyder; English; 66 minutes; not rated.
Free ticketed event; tickets available one hour before show