Premiere of Tucson film “Little Brother: Manchild in the Promised Land”


    Little Brother

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    Carolyn Classen
    Carolyn Sugiyama Classen, a life long Democrat, was born & raised in the State of Hawaii, was a Legislative Aide for U.S. Senator Daniel K. Inouye on Capitol Hill, and practiced law for a while. In Tucson she worked as a tribal staff attorney for the Pascua Yaqui Tribe and later was the Interim Executive Director of the now defunct Domestic Violence Commission. In 2008 she became a “My Tucson” guest columnist for the Tucson Citizen newspaper, then continued blogging for for over four and a half years. Her blogsite was entitled “Carolyn’s Community” about community events and some political news, until Gannett Publishing shut down the site on January 31, 2014. She started with Blog for Arizona on Feb. 11, 2014. Part time she has been sitting as a Hearing Officer in Pima County Consolidated Justice Courts Small Claims Division since April, 2005. She is married to University of Arizona Distinguished Professor Albrecht Classen, a native of Germany. They have one son, who lives in Seattle, WA with his wife and daughter. She is also the Editor of the Southern Arizona Japanese Cultural Coalition website, (since Jan. 2013).


    1. Almost full house tonight at the YWCA to view these documentary films, as introduced by the filmmaker Nicole Franklin. C. 1 was called “Things Fall Apart” in Camden, NJ telling us about the high crime rate there and the perceptions of the black boys (ages 9 to 13) interviewed about dating, their parents, activities, crime. C. 5 “Manchild in the Promised Land” was of course more interesting being filmed in Tucson with several of the cast present. It showed an early black soldier from Sinaloa stationed at the Presidio San Agustin, then interviews of black boys about mountain biking, whether boys can cry, their future. Fascinating panel afterward with Dr. Michael Engs who has done research on blacks in the SW, & the Buffalo Soldiers; Andre Newman, MPH and in performing arts about Arizona Heritage Tours depicted in the film. Questions from the audience were about their acting, how to “change the narrative” of black people (not all from slave history), the selection process of finding these actors, what did they learn from the film, each other, whether they could talk about the acting experience with their peers, how it empowered them, how to handle current racism and speaking up to adults for help. Nicole moderated and encouraged more indie films like these,by going to at her website. She also asked the question to the audience early on (to post on index cards) – “What qualities do young black males lack?”. One older man from audience said to turn off the TV & other machines, stay in school and vote! Main issue: how to give black boys a unique voice, in a positive way. Nicole urged that “media culture has to change”regarding blacks boys and men.

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