Family Focus

Charlotte filmmaker directs racial justice film for national university course

With the launch of United for Equality, Strayer University is continuing its partnership with The Blackhouse Foundation—a leading voice working to elevate and increase the number of diverse voices in filmmaking.

United for Equality (UFE) builds on Strayer’s work of infusing documentary-style short films into online course content by engaging students in the stories of three racial justice advocacy organizations told through the lens of Black filmmakers.

In one of the films, directed by Charlotte-based director Asa Kryst, a filmmaker with a passion for visual storytelling, students will explore the impact of the Urban League of Central Carolinas, an organization that advocates for and equips African Americans and all underserved communities with tools to achieve social and economic equality.

“We’re thrilled that showcasing how groups like ULCC work to combat the long history of inequality in this country can educate students and serve as another step toward a more equitable future,” said Teddy McDaniel, III, president and CEO of Urban League of Central Carolinas.

The ULCC film is one of three stories featured in Strayer’s Sociology 210: Social Intelligence course, which launched this summer, allowing students to hear directly from ULCC, as well as the Black Women’s Health Imperative and FirstHand, on how each organization addresses racial inequities and empowers change in their local communities and society at large.

“We hope students learn through the film how our organization addresses the root causes of economic instability by providing the skills training and financial empowerment necessary to open the door to new career opportunities,” McDaniel said.

The Blackhouse Foundation works to expand opportunities for Black content creators by providing pathways to opportunities within film, television, digital and emerging platforms.

“Part of my job as a storyteller is to convey the emotion behind every narrative,” said Kryst. “In working with ULCC, that job became even easier. ULCC advocates are deeply committed to advancing the important mission of economic equality, and you can see their conviction both on screen and in the community.

Through each documentary, students will gain practical tips for advocacy in their personal lives, explore critical thinking strategies that will help them understand different perspectives and discover how they, too, are agents of change who can contribute meaningfully to create a more united and equitable future.

“If we can instill even a fraction of that passion into the students engaging with my film, our society will be better for it,” Kryst said.

“Teaching students about equality means having honest conversations about how far we’ve come as a society and just how far we still have to go,” said Brickson Diamond, board chair of The Blackhouse Foundation. “We at the Blackhouse Foundation are eager to continue our partnership with Strayer to demonstrate the impact of social justice work in cities across the country.”

Blackhouse provides opportunities for minority creatives to learn about the financial, production, marketing and distribution resources that will raise the profile of their content, while also providing participants with a nucleus for continuing support, community and education.

The films are produced by Strayer Studios, a production arm of Strayer University that infuses curriculum with interactive, cinematic stories produced by award-winning filmmakers to engage students and help them grasp subject matter in more meaningful ways.

Strayer and The Blackhouse Foundation began their partnership in 2020 with an activation at the Sundance Film Festival, celebrating diverse authorship in academic content and film.

“Strayer believes in the power of storytelling. These compelling narratives bring to life the real difference a hands-on approach can make in the fight for racial justice and challenge our students to take action to improve their own communities,” said Andrea Backman, president of Strayer University.

CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT UNITED FOR EQUALITY.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE URBAN LEAGUE FILM.

If you have an inspiring story to share, email Kevin Campbell, WSOC-TV/WAXN-TV/Telemundo Charlotte public affairs manager, at Kevin.Campbell@wsoctv.com.

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