Staff Picks

What We're Watching

Dim the lights and get ready to learn with these LFJ-approved films!

Still from "Drawn to You."
Image Credit: Eleanor Davitt

Drawn to You tells the story of a young girl whose true feelings about her identity come to life through her drawings. In the short, animated film written and directed by Eleanor Davitt, Emily draws two girls holding hands. Her mother responds negatively by tearing the picture in half and replacing one of the girls with a man holding a flower. Forced to conform, Emily feels rejected. She is later elated that the two girls from the picture have reunited—after they come to life and have a quick adventure through her room. From rejection to affirmation, this film captures the real emotions a queer youth experiences when discovering how to express their true self. (4 min.)
Available on YouTube | Elementary and Middle School

Discarded in a dumpster and then saved by chance, thousands of photographs chronicle the lives of Chinese immigrants in San Francisco’s Chinatown during the early 1900s. Glimpses into the lives of photographers Leo Chan and Isabella May unfold in the documentary Vanishing Chinatown: The World of the May’s Photo Studio. Recollections from a number of people, including the couple’s granddaughter, reveal the richness of Chinatown life. The studio’s futuristic response to the Chinese Exclusion Act that kept families an ocean apart and McCarthy-era FBI interference demonstrates that anti-Asian harassment in the United States is nothing new. Ultimately, this Ephemera Pictures production is a celebration of legacy. (27 min.)
Available on Vimeo and PBS | Middle and High School

MLK/FBI sheds light on the ways oppressive systems sought to silence Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and quell the civil rights movement. The FBI created a surveillance campaign to reinforce a racial hierarchy in the United States—a strategy that was later implemented to quash the Black Panther Party. With interviews, original audio, documents and vintage footage, the film illuminates how white supporters of civil rights legislation and law enforcement worked to sabotage activists’ efforts and maintain white supremacy. Through this damning documentary, students can observe how strategies used by those in power to suppress resistance are still commonplace, and they can realize the power of community organizing. (106 min.)
Available on Amazon and YouTube | Middle and High School

The Anti-Fairytale of Gender Stereotyping posits that the perpetuation of career choices dictated by gender norms should be a thing of the past. This animated short produced in 2019 by The Like Minded, a U.K.-based production company, raises questions regarding whether or not notions of gender-specific careers are genuinely outdated. Animated characters who pursue their passions in the world of work contrast with the results of a University of London study focused on Millennials’ gender-based perceptions to encourage children to envision the careers of their dreams. (3 min.)
Available on YouTube | Elementary School

LFJ Discount

Get 40% off Dear Georgina and the prequel, Dawnland, for one year with code LJDL40.

“My foster parents told us about, ‘Run if you see an Indian,’” Georgina Sappier-Richardson remembers in Dear Georgina, “and we did.” She reflects upon her experiences as an Indigenous 2-year-old removed from her family in 1942, placed in the Maine foster care system for 16 years, then returning as a 30-year-old to her Passamaquoddy community. In this Upstander Project documentary, Sappier-Richardson works to make peace with an abusive past and a severed identity resulting from permanent separation from her parents. Sappier-Richardson’s discoveries lead to forgiveness and joy. With an accompanying viewer’s guide, Dear Georgina is a love letter that remains relevant in the midst of recent state-sanctioned family separations. (14 min.)
Available on Vimeo | Professional Development

A map of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana and Mississippi with overlaid images of key state symbols and of people in community

Learning for Justice in the South

When it comes to investing in racial justice in education, we believe that the South is the best place to start. If you’re an educator, parent or caregiver, or community member living and working in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana or Mississippi, we’ll mail you a free introductory package of our resources when you join our community and subscribe to our magazine.

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