As we prepare for our benefit concert event on Thursday March 26th, we're talking about the power of reconciliation with high school students. “We're all on this rock together.” That's the reason a high school student at Corwin-Russell School at Broccoli Hall gave for why reconciliation in Rwanda is important and relevant in his life. The message was clear from this group of 30+ creative and intelligent students. Arriving at Broccoli Hall in Sudbury, Massachusetts, just outside Boston, the name is the first clue this school is like no other. Teachers and students flow through from room to room of the quirky building that is half school house half modern/pop culture art museum. The sign outside the principal's office is “Toad's Hall.” Harry Potter paraphernalia is also popular. A photo illustration by the secretary's desk shows an open pea pod with rainbow colored peas “None of the things in this place fit into the same category.”
Somehow at the assigned time all the students just seemed to know where to be as they seated themselves alternately at a long high table with barstools, at computer desks, on the floor and perched on anything else they could find to hear me, a documentary filmmaker, tell them how they can help change the world. They also offered their advice on the lessons of our documentary film Reconciliation's Reach and how those ideas can be implemented in their lives. After a brief history of what happened in 1994 in Rwanda- 1,000,000 people killed in 100 days- we watched a preview of the film (watch it at the top of this page) Immediate reactions ranged from “moving” to “frightening.” The students were immediately engaged asking dozens of questions during our 90 minutes together.
They were quick with their ideas of how this model of reconciliation, which seems to be working in Rwanda, can be used in their lives. They talked about their personal relationships with other students, teachers, and then they mentioned grander ideas of reconciliation in Iraq and between Sunnis and Shia. They learned that REACH in Rwanda has been successful to a degree in introducing the idea of building peace through business and social partnerships. This progress comes despite the Rwandan people's experiences, suffering through atrocities that are unimaginable. One student said, our discussion helped to remind him that our problems are not as dire and that makes reconciling the differences we may have that much more feasible. Several students shared this sentiment saying, they feel that seeing this example inspires them to think about ways they can create reconciliation in their personal lives and neighborhoods.
The energy was infectious from this dynamic group of students. The class and the teachers were inquisitive and excited and eager to see the completed film, Reconciliation's Reach. They left with the reminder that they have the power to make a difference in their world. As one student, Nick, summed it up at the end quoting Ghandi he said, “We can 'be the change' we want to see in the world.” --Adam Mazo, Executive Producer-Reconciliation's Reach
Come for the live music, dozens of raffle prizes worth thousands of dollars and much more! To learn more about Rock Out for Reconciliation's Reach and download the flyer click here. RSVP via facebook. Not a facebook member? Email us! --
Did you see this? We recently had the opportunity to talk about our film on ABC-TV in Sarasota, Florida.
Upstander Films, Inc.