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A Wider Lens Documentary Series

Arlington Heights Memorial Library

Contact Name: Shannon Distel
Type of Initiative: Inclusion/Tolerance 


As part of Arlington Heights Memorial Library’s goal of Inspiring Understanding, a new documentary series - A Wider Lens - is introducing library customers to a broad variety of experiences that inspire learning and conversation. Each of the selected films is followed by a facilitated discussion and intended to reach a wide range of audiences. The first film, Growing Up Trans, was screened on June 1, 2017 and moderated by Crispin Torres, transgender advocate and educator working with Chicago’s Howard Brown Health. Over 30 customers attended, many sharing personal experiences during the discussion that followed the film screening.  A booklist was curated by library staff and Mr. Torres and shared with attendees to foster continued awareness and understanding.

Following Growing Up Trans, the Oscar nominated documentary 13th was screened, with a discussion led by members of the Force Project. The film analyzes the criminalization of African Americans and the U.S. prison boom. Although the discussion was a more difficult one, given the topic of the film, all participants shared honestly and with respect for one another.

He Named Me Malala, the inspiring film portrait of Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Mala Yousafzai who was targeted by the Taliban for advocating for girls’ education, will be the third film in the series. The discussion to follow will be moderated by Temitope Famodu of GirlForward Chicago. The fourth film screened will be Before the Flood, presented by National Geographic and featuring Leonardo DiCaprio’s journey as a United Nations Messenger of Peace traveling to witness climate change. Attendees can participate in a moderated discussion with Lisa Albrecht of Solar Service Inc. following the documentary. We look forward to continued topical discussions with our community, giving participants an opportunity to connect new viewpoints through film and with one another through dialogue.