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"Not everything that is faced can be changed; but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” 
~ James Baldwin
MONTHLY NEWSLETTER: February 2017
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Honoring Black History 

During Black History Month, we feel especially inspired by the unique history of Liberia - having just returned from our trip - and the country's deep connection to the U.S. 
Liberians told us of the close bond they feel with America. Meanwhile, we wondered how many Americans can find Liberia on a map, or how many Americans know of the American Colonization Society and the story of the Americo-Liberians. Some of this history can be found in James Ciment's book, Another America: The Story of Liberia and the Former Slaves Who Ruled It.
We also honor the many black Peace Corps Volunteers who have served since 1961. And we feel privileged that Shakira and Tisania, who are currently serving in Liberia, were among our interviewees (see photos below under Peace Corps Liberia PCVs & PCRVs).
Our Visit to Liberia

Our production trip to Liberia was a great success!  We are particularly proud of the powerful interview with President Sirleaf. However, there were so many more interviews that will help us tell the story of the Peace Corps and get at the heart of what it means to be an American and a global citizen - from thoughtful American and Liberian Peace Corps staff to insightful Volunteers (2-year Peace Corps Volunteers and Peace Corps Response Volunteers) to brilliant Liberian scholars and community members.
 
We recorded stunning aerial footage and b-roll (extra footage intercut with the main shot) of Volunteers in their communities, of Monrovia at sunrise, and of daily life in a small, but important Peace Corps country.

We learned about how PC staff assisted the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) during the Ebola crisis; how almost every Liberian we talked to had memories from the 60s, 70s, and 80s of being taught by a Peace Corps Volunteer; and how Liberians see themselves as the little brother of America because of the complex and challenging history that intertwines our two nations.

President Sirleaf said: "Whether you can see it or not, we live in a global village, and we are all connected."

 
President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
President Sirleaf and staffer, PC Liberia Country Director Kevin Fleming & Director Alana DeJoseph
President Sirleaf & Vanessa Carr, 
Director of Photography
President Sirleaf, Vanessa Carr & Alana DeJoseph

Becky Banton, Director of Programming & Training
Peace Corps Liberia
Becky Banton & Alana DeJoseph

Peace Corps Liberia
PCVs & PCRVs
Shakira Franklyn, Peace Corps Response, Global Health Services Partnership (GHSP) Volunteer
Anne Geroski, Peace Corps Response Volunteer working at local orphanage
Chris Gozdziewski and Kayla Gonzalez, 2-year Education PCVs teaching math and science at local High School
Tisania Currie, 2-year Education PCV teaching math and science
Following two years of Peace Corps service in the Dominican Republic, Cindy Toscano is now a Peace Corps Response Volunteer in Liberia
Doctor Kevin Rodgers, Peace Corps Response, Global Health Services Partnership (GHSP) Volunteer
Allison Sinning, PC Liberia's Peace Corps Response Gender Coordinator
Team Spotlight

Our Director of Photography, Vanessa Carr, is a documentary cinematographer based in San Francisco. She has a master's degree in journalism from UC Berkeley. She has joined the production on trips to the Dominican Republic, Ukraine, and Liberia. You can view some of her other work at vanessacarr.com. We love the unique perspective and artistry Vanessa brings to this story. And although she is not an RPCV, we call her an honorary RPCV because of all that she has learned about the Peace Corps since joining our project!
What's Next

A few key interviews remain, including one this month with PC historian, Elizabeth Cobbs. Other than that, we are buckling down in our edit suite to craft this important and urgent story.

Our composer, Lance, is busy creating the sounds to augment the narrative, while our graphic designer, Thomas, is building the lower thirds (
name graphics that go into the lower third part of the screen when someone is on camera), open and close animations, graphics and imagery.

Our script writer, Shana, is translating the numerous interviews into a continuous dramatic arc, and our associate producer, Kelsey, and our various generous assistants are helping us sift through the incredible archival materials that are the building blocks of our history.

All the while, we continue to raise funds and move forward - step by step.

Your support will help us continue bringing stories like yours to life!

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