If you don't learn to write your own life story, some one else will write it for you.
In support of the public media initiative to help students stay on the path to on-time high school graduation and future success, WXXI presents To Be Heard, airing Monday, September 24 at 8:00 AM, 2:00 PM, and 7:30 PM on WXXI-World (DT21.2/cable 524).
A verité film intimately shot over four years, To Be Heard is the story of three teens from the South Bronx whose struggle to change their lives begins with writing poetry. As writing and reciting become vehicles for their expressions of love, friendship, frustration, and hope, these three youngsters emerge as accomplished self-aware artists, who use their creativity to alter their circumstances. To Be Heard is produced and directed by Roland Legiardi-Laura, Edwin Martinez, Deborah Shaffer and Amy Sultan.
Focusing on three students at University Heights High School in the South Bronx, the poorest urban county in the United States, To Be Heard introduces viewers to Karina, Anthony, and Pearl who have all struggled since birth. Every day, they directly confront the suffering and oppression of poverty, broken families, and an indifferent, often hostile school system. Enmeshed in the story of the three teens is a look at the source of their inspiration – a nontraditional poetry class called Power Writing. Lead by two of the filmmakers, Roland Legiardi-Laura and Amy Sultan, Power Writing is an optional three-hour-a-week class open to all students, at-risk, academically gifted, or both. There are no grades and there is no set curriculum, but in the workshops students learn the elements of writing, vocabulary, and style and are encouraged to express themselves in a safe, non-judgmental setting that welcomes all kind of views and voices including the language of the streets. Designed to empower students, Power Writing has a simple motto, “If you don’t learn to write your own life story, someone else will write it for you.”
Local support for the American Graduate Initiative and this broadcast is made possible by Hillside Work-Scholarship Connection, preparing students for graduation, college, and a career.