BMe Community and the Black Male Development Symposium Host the Philadelphia Advanced Screening of the Sundance Award-Winning Documentary American Promise, March 1, 2013

This unique film provides insight into the complexities of race, class and opportunity in American and how one middle class Black family deals with the challenges of “striving toward the American dream for their children.” This special free advance screening of American Promise will be held in Philly March 1 , 2013, on the campus of Arcadia University and  followed by a community discussion with the filmmakers. 

BMe wants to know: Are you a man with a story to tell? If so we will be videotaping the stories of men that are making a difference in their community before the special screening of the film. Come and share with the world your story and connect with other men who are working toward the same goals.  Videotaping will occur during the reception from 5:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. in the Castle.  Come and be a part of the FINAL BMe story collection. 

Philadelphia, PA—February 25, 2013—BMe, a growing network of black men committed to making our communities stronger, is bringing Philadelphians a unique opportunity to view and discuss a new documentary exploring the changing face of success in America.

The opening reception for the screening of the documentary American Promise will be held at Arcadia University, 450 South Easton Road, Glenside, PA 19038, in the Grey Towers Castle Friday, March 1st from 5:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.  The advanced screening begins at 6:40 p.m. in Murphy Hall's Stiteler Auditorium. The post screening discussion will be moderated by Sara Lomax- ReesePresident & General Manager of WURD Radio.  The American Promise Directors Joe Brewster and Michele Stephenson will be our special guests for the evening discussion. 

“This film is a perfect illustration to showcase the complexities of the continuing growing pains of this society as African Americans continually strive to reach for that “American Dream” for their children; but many times feel they are grasping at thin air,” says Dr. Doreen Loury, Executive Director of the Black Male Development Symposium and a professor of Sociology/Anthropology and Criminal Justice at Arcadia University,

Spanning 12 years in the lives of two families, American Promise, a Sundance award-winner, provides a rare look into black middle class life while exploring the common hopes and hurdles of parents navigating their children’s educational journey.

During the film, Directors Joe Brewster and Michele Stephenson, middle-class African-American parents in Brooklyn, N.Y., turn their cameras on their son, Idris, and his best friend, Seun, who make their way through one of the most prestigious private schools in the country. Chronicling the boys’ divergent paths from kindergarten through high school graduation at Manhattan’s Dalton School, this provocative, intimate documentary presents complicated truths about America’s struggle to come of age on issues of race, class and opportunity. American Promise is a co-production of Rada Film Group, ITVS and POV’s Diverse Voices Project. It is part of American Graduate: Let’s Make It Happen, made possible by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

“We hope that viewing American Promise provides a moment of reflection and discussion that helps bring us closer together, and closer to creating more community solutions,” said Trabian Shorters, vice president of communities at Knight Foundation, which founded BMe along with the Open Society Foundations.

Before and after the showing, BMe will be collecting video testimonials from black men from all walks of life about their positive contributions to Philadelphia. Men who share their story are eligible to apply for grants of up to $20,000.

The deadline for BMe grant applications is March 8th . Priority for funding will be given to projects involving multiple people working together. In total, up to $200,000 will be given out in Philadelphia. Fund recipients will be announced in April.

To nominate a black man who should be considered for a grant, visit

For more information on American Promise and to view a trailer, visit

All events are free however you must RSVP to attend.  To register for the screening: Ticket must be presented at time of registration and if under age 18 you must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

To “Share Your Story” and be a part of the BMe story collection please register

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. More information is available at

About Arcadia University: Arcadia University is a top-ranked private university in metropolitan Philadelphia and a national leader in study abroad and international education. The 2012 Open Doors report names Arcadia University #1 in the nation in undergraduate students studying abroad. U.S. News & World Report ranks Arcadia University among the top regional universities in the North and as one of the top study abroad programs. U.S. News also ranks Arcadia’s Physical Therapy program fourteenth in the nation. Arcadia University promises a distinctively global, integrative and personal learning experience that prepares students to contribute and lead in a diverse and dynamic world. (

About Black Male Development Symposium: The BMDS was created in 2004 to address the life threatening issues facing Black males and their families. There is a sad and inescapable truth — Black males live at great risk and they and their families and communities must learn strategies of survival and empowerment. The Symposium provides a forum for practical solutions by providing informative presenters and interactive workshops to assist attendees in developing realistic strategies and concrete recommendations that they can put into practice in their respective communities.  Additionally, the Symposium offers a safe “intergenerational space” for AAM of all ages to do as written and encouraged by the symposium’s early creators think and re-evaluate where they are as men, co-workers, lovers, husbands, fathers and brothers in a healthy and developmental manner (Madhubuti, 2004).  The Symposium emerges as a fulcrum, more than a socio-political medium, but a social and intellectual forum where we can spread out the uncensored truth and challenges of the black male dilemma before a complex audience.  BMDS hopes to continue positioning itself to become part of the growing body of knowledge and expertise about what works to combat this deeply rooted and exceeding complex national dilemma.   (

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