Produced by Washington Koen Media and supported by the Ford Foundation, Beyond the Bricks is a documentary film project and national community engagement campaign created with the goal of promoting solutions for one of America’s critical problems in education: the consistently low performance of black males in school. The film follows African-American students Shaquiel Ingram and Erick Graham as they struggle to stay on the track in the Newark, NJ public school system. Weaved into the boys’ stories is commentary from some of the country’s foremost leaders, experts and scholars focused on black boys and their education including Newark Mayor Cory Booker, the Reverend Al Sharpton, and Schott Foundation President Dr. John Jackson, among others. Though the film focuses primarily on students from Newark, NJ, the issues addressed there extend to urban enclaves throughout the nation.
While our national community engagement campaign centers on young black males, our primary objective is to reach the influential members of these boys’ communities to stimulate deeper involvement in their lives. We will bring together educators, community leaders, policymakers, parents and students to promote positive communication, and to create solution-based action around the problems black male students are facing. With the national support of Open Society Institute's Campaign for Black Male Achievement and our local CALL TO ACTION and outreach partners, Beyond the Bricks will have Town Hall events in 10 communities that have been identified primarily by their struggling graduation rates for black males: Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Jackson, MS, Milwaukee, New Orleans, Oakland, and Philadelphia.
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