How you can do more than watch 'America to Me'

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By Michael Romain

Staff Reporter

The 10-part documentary series "America to Me," which debuted Aug. 26 on Starz, is more than a film. In an attempt to engage people across the country in a dialogue about racial equity, Starz and Participant Media announced last month the creation of a "Share Your Voice" spoken word contest in conjunction with the series. 

The companies are accepting spoken word submissions from U.S. students for an opportunity to win a $25,000 scholarship. The contest "challenges students ages 14 to 19 to answer the question, 'What does America mean to me?' in a 60-second original spoken word video," according to a statement released by Starz.

"Entry submissions are being accepted through Oct. 7 via Instagram or Twitter using #AmericatoMeContest and #STARZ hashtags or by uploading it to"

For more info on the contest, go to the official Starz Facebook page and follow @STARZ on Twitter and Instagram. Join the conversation with #AmericaToMe and #STARZ. You can also visit

A panel of judges will select the top five finalists whose videos will be posted to on Oct. 14. From that point, the public will have an opportunity to vote on the winning submission through Oct. 22. The winner will be announced on Oct. 28. 


Sign a pledge 

An alliance of local groups in Oak Park, including Suburban Unity Alliance and the Committee for Equity and Excellence in Education, recently announced the creation of a petition/pledge for "community allies truly looking to engage in action steps pushing for systemic change in Oak Park school systems," according to a statement they released. 

"Many allies are asking, what can they do, and here is one answer," the statement reads. "Allies must use their privilege to empower the oppressed and finally push school systems which have procrastinated and refused to change to do so." 

Once people have signed the pledge, which is available at (search 'ally in verb form'), they will be added to a closed Facebook group called Allies in Verb Form for Equity & Excellence in Oak Park Schools, designed to "galvanize and organize around tangible efforts." 

Michael Romain


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Ramona Lopez  

Posted: September 7th, 2018 4:01 PM

Why is everything asked of the schools and nothing asked of the black students? Why is there no "meeting in the middle"? Is there anything the black students at OPRF can do to close the achievement gap, or is the onus entirely on EVERYONE else but them? I would hardly call black students at OPRF oppressed. If you want to see oppressed, I suggest you catch the next flight to a 3rd world country. Specifically, what "systemic" changes would you like to see? Speaking in vague terms is great for political slogans, but does little for an organization attempting to make "sytemic" changes.

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