'Woke Up Black' Premiere This Friday

Premieres February 25, 2011 | Purchase tickets here

“Woke Up Black”, focuses on five black youth, along with their struggles and triumphs as they start their journey into adulthood. The documentary will premier on February 25, 2011 at the Gene Siskel Film Center and will be broadcast on WTTW, Chicago’s public television station, in late Spring.

The film places at its center the voices of Black youth– their ideas, attitudes and opinions that are often overlooked in today’s society.

For two years, Morten and associate producers Keisha Farmer-Smith, Aparna Sharma, and Marisol Ybarra followed five youth from the Chicago area to explore their experiences when it comes to navigating the world they live in. As they move through their personal challenges this documentary also mirrors the complexities of this often ignored group that are at the center of many socio-political issues including discrimination, political participation, sex and relationships, music, and the media portrayal of black youth.

An interview-driven film with footage provides context for young people who are often criticized and frequently misunderstood. Small group conversations punctuate the individual vignettes on each young person.

Project SYNCERE Makes Engineering Fun for Black Students

NBC Cleveland | February 7, 2011

CHICAGO — Project SYNCERE, an innovative program in Chicago, is giving young African American students a jump start in math and science by making engineering concepts fun.

A lesson on velocity taught by racing wooden vehicles with CDs for wheels. The prize isn’t money, but it’s just as rich — an education.

A group of students connecting the dots and cracking the concepts of physics.

“You don’t just have to sit down in the classroom and write and write and write. It’s kind of cool because we actually get to do hands-on work,” said Jamaine Smith, a 7th grader at Dumas Academy on Chicago’s south side.

Smith is just one student active in the programs of Project SYNCERE.

SYNCERE stands for Supporting Youth’s Needs with Core Engineering Research Experiments. The program teaches students the key math and science skills that engineers use every day.  (Read more)