January 12, 2007

Local Youth Producers Screen Documentary About
Somali Refugees at Malcolm X Library

Media Arts Center San Diego Teen Producers Project in partnership with the City of San Diego Public Library, is gearing up to screen Where is Home?, the first of two youth-produced short documentary videos from Refugee Voices, a year-long project designed to document and preserve local East African stories. Where is Home? is scheduled to screen on Wednesday, January 17, 2007 at the Malcolm X Public Library at 6:30 p.m. The screening is FREE and open to the public. Youth producers and documentary interviewees will take part in a Q&A facilitated by USD Assistant Professor of Ethnic Studies Jesse Mills.

Where is Home? was produced over a period of 15-weeks by youth participating in the Teen Producers Project, an after-school video production, education and training program. Teens worked with Media Arts Instructors to research, produce, and edit this 10 minute short documentary about two Somali refugees living in San Diego. Class was held at the MAAC Project’s President John Adams Manor (PJAM), an affordable housing complex located in the San Diego neighborhood Oak Park, and the Malcolm X Public Library in City Heights. Where is Home? will also screen alongside the critically acclaimed feature length documentary, The Letter.

Where is Home? (2007, 10 min.)

Since 1960 Somali people have struggled for unity and control of their destiny. Two Somali refugees share their stories of growing up in the United States, and their desire to someday return to their homeland to help those still in need. This is the first in a series of videos exploring the East African refugee community in San Diego.

The Letter: An American Town and the ‘Somali Invasion’ (2003, 76 min.)

In the wake of the 9/11 tragedy a firestorm erupts when Mayor Larry Raymond of Lewiston, Maine sends a letter to 1,100 newly arrived Somali refugees advising that the city’s resources are strained to the limit and asking that other Somalis not to move to the city. Interpreted as racism by some and a rallying cry by white supremacist groups across the United States, THE LETTER documents the crossfire of emotions and events, culminating in a “hate” rally convened by The World Church of the Creator and a counter “peace” rally involving 4,000 Lewiston residents supporting ethnic and cultural diversity.

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