Because They Could
Wayne State University + We the People of Detroit Community Research Collective | 2014-2017 | multiple productions
Director + Creative Producer + D.P. + Editor + Still Photographer
From 2009-2017, appointed Emergency Managers have closed over 100 Detroit Public Schools, understaffed schools and neglected buildings. In total, these policies have displaced over 25,000 students and drastically increased the number of for-profit charter schools. This multi-part video and photography series gives voice to the students, parents and teachers adversely affected by these policies.
The films Because they Could and Built and Rebuilt were commissioned by the Leonard Kaplan Education Collaborative at Wayne State University. Because They Could (2014) chronicled the closure of an elementary school for physically disabled children and was produced in partnership with the Oakman Parents Association. Built and Rebuilt (2015) details the history of a public high-performing arts high school through a 25 year history of education reform, the charter school movement and the trials and tribulations of the Detroit Public Schools district. It was co-directed by parent-activist Yolanda Peoples.
In early 2017, the State of Michigan threatened another round of mass school closures. I partnered with the Michigan Network of Equity in Education and the We the People of Detroit Community Research Collective to produce The Last Cut a nine-minute film that follows former Oakman student Timothy Wright through multiple school closures, and quantifies the effects of state-mandated closings on children of color.
Michigan State University Detroit Center (Built and Rebuilt), November 2017
Wayne State University College of Education (Built and Rebuilt), January 2016
Wayne County Community College (Because they Could), March 2015
Wayne State University Law School (Because They Could), January 2015
Detroit Board of Education (Because they Could), October 2014
Time Moves in One Direction, Memory Another Wayne State University Art Gallery (Built and Rebuilt), October 2016