Friday, March 13, 2015

Yvonne Welbon of The New Black - East Tennessee State University, Indie Memphis, and Auburn University

From producer Yvonne Welbon of The New Black:

Working with a small team I oversee The New Black’s Empowering Equality outreach and engagement campaign focused primarily on LGBT, faith and African-American communities. In collaboration with our partner organizations (e.g., Human Rights Campaign, ACLU, Gay-Straight Alliance Network), our national campaign launched in 2013 with a number of initiatives and piloted a series of activities geared toward fostering dialogue, bridge-building and inspiring action. We have focused on three key areas as part of an overarching public education effort. They included 1) Faithbased Initiatives; 2) Institutional and Organizational Development; and 3) Grassroots Organizing encompassing political and legislative advocacy and increasing media visibility. The goals of Southern Circuit Tour align with many of our goals, including our strong desire to reach our goals with communities in the South.

East Tennessee State University 

The first stop on my tour was the Mary B. Martin School of the Arts at East Tennessee State University (ETSU). With The New Black Empowering Equality campaign, our goal is to support the development of diversity and inclusion practices within colleges, universities, corporations, and nonprofit organizations committed to developing and sustaining diverse, inclusive environments.

Working with the fabulous ETSU team that included Associate Dean Anita DeAngelis, Assistant Director Heidi Ehle and RTVF Director Shara Lange I experienced a full day of activities that included a classroom visit, small group critiques, a faculty/staff dinner, the screening of the film and a reception. The team at ETSU garnered quite a bit of press for the event. The film screening was written about in East Tennessean, A! Magazine, The Kingsport Times-News, and Johnson
City Press.

Yvonne Welbon presenting a case study of The New Black to Professor Tammy Hayes RTVF Writing Class. 

Professor Tammy Hayes RTVF Writing Class

Professor Shara Lange arranged a small group critique session with students

Post screening Q & A

The Reception
Indie Memphis

The New Black screened at Malco Studio on the Square in Memphis. The screening attracted a crowd that included members of OutLaw 901, the #1 LGBT Guide to Memphis TN. Members from Cathedral of Praise Church of Memphis decided to bring their Wednesday night Bible Study to the screening. Overall the audience mix helped to create an amazing post screening discussion moderated by Whitney, the Founder of OutLaw 901.

New Black Producer, Yvonne Welbon with members of Cathedral of Praise Church of Memphis
Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art, Auburn University 

My last stop on the Southern Circuit Tour was the beautiful Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art at Auburn University. The screening was open to the public and included students and community members. The audience Q& A focused on topics that ranged from Alabama’s stance on Marriage Equality to the many issues addressed in the film. One young woman in the audience said that the film allowed her to think deeply about the issues in the film and had moved her to shift her position to one that was more open to acceptance. The Q& A moved from the theater to the atrium where we
enjoyed live jazz , good food and great conversation.

Producer, Yvonne Welbon; Museum Curator of Education, Scott Bishop; Audience members Kirk Swiss and Virginia E. O'Leary, Ph.D.; Professor Emerita, Auburn University