“School is a safe spot, not a hate spot” and “Bullying is an act of insecurity #beyourself” are some of the messages from anti-bullying PSAs created by students at two local high schools. As part of the national Public Media initiative Not In Our Town (NIOT), KCPT asked local high school students to create anti-bullying PSAs for use on-air and in area classrooms.
Both PSAs will premiere around the February 13, 2012 broadcast of the latest NIOT documentary, Not In Our Town: Class Actions, which showcases how university and school campuses across the country have found positive ways to stand up against hate and bullying.
Students at FL Schlagle High School in Kansas City, KS decided to focus their PSA on cyber bullying. They polled fellow students to find out how social media is used to bully and then came up with ways to handle it. Throughout the spot, masked students hold signs with hash tagged messages like “Once you tweet it, it’s there forever #thinkbeforeyoutweet.”
Fairfax Learning Center’s student council came up with the slogan “School is a safe spot, not a hate spot,” designed a poster, and scripted a bullying skit. Because Fairfax Learning Center does not have a video production class or equipment, KCPT’s production crew went to film the skit and then edited it together.
The PSAs will continue to air on KCPT for the next year and will also be available to area teachers along with classroom resources from Not In Our Town. Educators are encouraged to sign-up to receive these resources and updates from the initiative here.
Join the local violence prevention project Aim4Peace on Thursday, February 9, 2012 for special screenings and discussions of the upcoming Frontline documentary The Interrupters. The film tells the amazing story of three “violence interrupters” in Chicago who place themselves in the crossfire to stop the cycle of violence and protect their communities. Representatives from the Aim4Peace Violence Prevention Project will be at the screenings with more information about the anti-violence work being done in our community, which is modeled after the Chicago programs profiled in the film. Screenings will take place at 9am, Noon, 3pm and 6pm at the Biery Auditorium 2400 Troost Ave. KCMO 64108. The event is free and open to the public.
What surprised you most about Downton Abbey’s depiction of WWI?
Of course, Downton Abbey is a fictional dramatization of historical events, so I don’t watch it as a documentary but as a very interesting period depiction of life there during a cataclysmic world event. I was surprised by the really quick introduction in the first episode of the second season to combat on the Western Front. No parades, no flag waving, just here is the Somme!
What do you think most Downton Abbey fans would be surprised to learn about WWI that they might not already know?
That life went on in most of the UK like it had before the war, even though it was just across the English Channel. Of course, in the areas which were being bombed by German zeppelins and heavy bombers, the war was very much present and close.
What connections, if any, does the National WWI Museum have to Downton Abbey?
The National World War I Museum has connections with the war depicted in Downton Abbey through the collections of British Empire uniforms, equipment, weapons, documents, posters and photographs to name some of the materials. Also the museum recently acquired a temporary grave marker for Second Lieutenant H.J. Hilary, 92nd Battery, 29th Divisional Artillery, Royal Field Artillery who was wounded and died on June 2, 1917. He was buried in Duisans Cemetery in France and when the grave received its permanent stone marker, the wooden cross was sent back to England to his family. The grandson of 2nd Lieutenant Hilary who lives in New York state gave it to the museum and mentioned that his parents live very close to Highclere Castle which serves as Downton Abbey.
What effect did WWI have on the class system and the upstairs-downstairs mentality we see in the series?
At the end of WWI, the entire fabric of the world had changed, from one-person rule of the monarchies of Germany and Russia, for example, to a great feeling of nationalism that took effect in many parts of the world. Some of the sentiments expressed in Downton Abbey, especially by Thomas and the chauffeur Branson, do reflect the changing of class structure, although it didn’t occur really rapidly in England.
How was military rank affected by class standing?
Rank in the British military had traditionally been class-affiliated. Some officers actually bought rank and raised their own units before WWI. Class still had its place during WWI, but artillery shells, machine guns and poison gas were great levelers on the battlefields. Fraternization among officers and other ranks was generally frowned upon.
Who is your favorite character and why?
It is funny, but it has become Edith. In the first season, I didn’t really like her! In this season, however, her compassion for the wounded and her understanding of the need to contribute to the war effort by actually working on a farm and by driving has shown a different person. You can see how conditions really affect her.
What sort of roles did women take-on during WWI and how are these reflected in the show?
Women in almost all of the warring nations were mobilized in some fashion. In England, early on, they served as nurses, nursing administrators and in voluntary aid detachments as shown in Downtown Abbey. But quickly, women became a major force in munitions production, outnumbering men in many cases. British women were militarized to serve as reserves with the Royal Navy and the Royal Flying Corps (later the Royal Air Force) as ground support. The last survivor of WWI is a woman, Florence Green, who served in a RAF canteen. British women also served in the Land Army working on farms, in forestry units and in many other service capacities. They worked in war offices. They worked as camouflage artists, as translators and decoders. Almost every war effort task was staffed by women as well as men. Even Princess Mary, daughter of the King and Queen, raised funds and led the effort for a Christmas present to be delivered to all British servicemen and women in 1914. The beautifully crafted brass box with a profile image of Princess Mary on the lid held cigarettes, pipes and pipe tobacco, candy, pencils and paper and even a card from her wishing them Merry Christmas. They are known as Princess Mary Christmas boxes and there are some on exhibit in the museum.
Matthew takes quite a bit of leave from the front. How much flexibility did officers have or was this even a common occurrence?
Again, this is a dramatization, but a lower ranking officer probably didn’t have that much leave, especially since he was a line officer and his unit was in the midst of the war.
Anything else you’d like to add?
I really like the program and do not want it to be over. The actors are terrific and the costumes, especially of the women are fabulous and so on the mark! I think that it is great that so many shows and movies are about World War I right now, like Downton Abbey and War Horse. It brings attention to the National World War I Museum and understanding that while it has been over 100 years since the war, that its effects are still present.
Learn more about WWI, how the National WWI Museum was established in Kansas City and some of the Museum’s holdings in these pieces produced by KCPT for The Local Show:
The History of WWI
The History of the Liberty Memorial
Personal Stories of WWI
Hidden History -
Behind the Scenes of the National WWI Museum
At the outset of Daisy Bates: First Lady of Little Rock, filmmaker Sharon La Cruise admits that despite having studied the Civil Rights Movement in college, she only stumbled upon the extraordinary story of the woman that organized the Little Rock Nine many years later. The majority of those who attended January’s Community Cinema screening had also never heard of Daisy Bates and her fight to integrate Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1957.
After viewing the documentary, which will air on KCPT on February 2, 2012 at 10pm, attendees discussed current issues of race and education in Kansas City and the largely untold story of women leaders in the Civil Rights Movement.
Community Cinema co-organizer and UMKC professor Caitlin Horsmon shared the story of local woman Corinthian B. Nutter, who lead the desegregation of an elementary school in Merriam, Kansas five years prior to Brown v. Board of Education. Like Bates, Nutter’s story has largely faded from the community’s consciousness. However, Horsmon is currently working a documentary about Nutter’s contributions to the fight for equal education.
Two women, who grew up in and around Little Rock, Arkansas in 1957, also happened to attend the screening. Although these women did not know each other, they sat only a few feet apart and revisited some of the most traumatic moments of their childhood.
Lillian Buchanan grew up in a small township about 30 miles northeast of Little Rock, AR and had never heard of Daisy Bates. She says that she remembers it being a very frightening and uncomfortable time for her family and other African Americans in her community.
“I really enjoyed the documentary and it brought up so much emotion. In the radio reports they just mentioned desegregating the high school and how the presence of federal troops was a violation of States’ rights,” Buchanan said. “We never heard about Daisy Bates. It’s good to have that information and I would like to see it incorporated in history education.”
Brendan Smith grew up in Little Rock, AR and characterizes this period as an extremely embarrassing time for herself and community members that didn’t share the vitriolic reactions of those being broadcast on the nightly news.
“We traveled abroad about two years later, and in England if we told someone we were from Little Rock they would say, ‘Oh yes that’s where you had the war. We saw it on the TV.’ And then we would have to explain that not all Americans or Southerners were like the people they saw on television,” Smith said.
Smith adds that she didn’t expect to be one of the only people at the screening who had heard about Daisy Bates.
“I was surprised that no one has heard of Daisy Bates.” Smith said. “Maybe [I knew] because I grew up in Little Rock, but we also knew her name because we admired her.”
Smith’s mother was part of the Women’s Emergency Committee to Open Our Schools (WEC), which worked to re-open and integrate Little Rock’s public schools after the Governor of Arkansas closed all state schools to prevent further desegregation.
In 2008, the Arkansas Democrat Gazette ran this full-page commemoration of the WEC’s work. It quotes WEC leader Adolphine Fletcher Terry as declaring, “The men have failed. It’s time to call out the women.”