To my equity advocate friends,
I'm writing to tell you about a new project that has enormous potential to bring attention to the educational opportunity and access gaps that continue to exist in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools.
Not enough people know that within the best-resourced district in the state, we have created a two-tier education system and in-school segregation. This system produces one of the largest "achievement gaps" in the nation, casting an embarrassing blemish on our progressive community.
This is where the new documentary, "I'm Smart,Too" comes in. I've gotten to know director Kim Talikoff through our joint work in the Campaign for Racial Equity in Our Schools and the Chapel Hill Carrboro NAACP. I have enormous respect for the perspective and analysis that Kim (a former Teacher of the Year in our system) and her talented team bring to this tragic situation that cripples our community and nation.
Please take the time to read Kim's letter below, watch the trailer, and visit the website to learn more about "I'm Smart,Too." Funds are needed to complete editing and promote the screening of the film, which will begin in Chapel Hill this spring and hopefully get shared around the state. We are not the only system that "sorts and labels" students throughout their educational career, letting them know early on what our expectations are about their potential and the type of education we think they deserve.
After having a look, I hope you'll consider joining me in making a financial contribution to help "I'm Smart, Too" come to fruition as a vehicle to promote a deeper understanding and analysis about what needs to be addressed and changed if we want to provide equitable access to quality education for all our children.
Donations may be made at imsmarttoo.org or mailed to TheyWeAre at 700 Kensington Drive, Chapel Hill, NC, 27514. TheyAreWe is a 501c3 non-profit so your donation will be tax deductible.
With warm regards and gratitude for your commitment to equity,
Letter from Kim Talikoff
I am writing to spread the word about a documentary film project my teammates and I have been working on for the last two years and to ask for your support. Here is a link to our 2-minute trailer so you can get a sense of what the film is about.
The Chapel Hill-Carrboro School district has struggled for years to address the longstanding academic “achievement gap” between white and black students in our schools. As a 4th grade teacher (2013-2017), I saw first-hand the ways race, class, and power still come together in our elementary schools to undermine children of color and to amplify disparities.
James Baldwin said, “...nothing can be changed until it is faced." Our independently produced and edited 30-minute film, currently in mid-production, captures the perspectives of local students, parents, teachers, and scholars to explore how gap-making begins. I’m Smart, Too challenges viewers to shift how they see the students in our community and to imagine a future in which the growth of each child is more important than the maintenance of advantage and instead becomes the metric by which we measure success. Though we aspire to reach a local audience, we believe that our film will also be of interest to other communities across the nation invested in addressing this issue.
This filmmaking adventure has been a balm in these somewhat troubling times. We are grateful to the many courageous students, parents, teachers, and research scholars who have shared their stories and perspectives, and look forward to screening the finished film locally in May.
Please consider a contribution to help bring this project home. Your donation will support the young filmmakers and scholars on our team as we work to edit the film and build a content rich website for our community.
To learn more about our project, follow our progress, or make a donation, please visit us at imsmarttoo.org. Our non-profit (501c3) organization is called TheyAreWe. Donations may also be sent to TheyAreWe at 700 Kensington Drive, Chapel Hill, NC, 27514.
Thank you so much for any support you can provide, and for sharing the trailer and website with others who might be interested.