Wednesday, May 28, 2008


Often, we need a nudge to get started with a writing project, publicity campaign, employment search or major life change. Once you start, forward motion leads to momentum, which breeds maximum results! Use these “motivation milestones” to track your progress:

M ake the most of each day and earn success—one step at a time.

O pportunities lead to reward. Discipline yourself to seize the moment!

T ackle challenges; don’t procrastinate.

I nitiate conversations, contacts and substantive liaisons.

V alue time, resources, talents (yours and others).

A ctualize dreams. Pray. Push. Persevere.

T ake action NOW.

I nvigorate your life! Learn ... risk ... renew.

O ffer to assist and elevate your lifetime circle of support.

N ever let laziness or a lackadaisical attitude win.

© 2008 Lynne Scott Jackson

Saturday, May 24, 2008

What's your UST?

Determine your UST quotient by answering these questions from the “United States Test”, Millynneum Insight’s txt for the formal US citizenship test.

Recently, America welcomed more than 18,000 Los Angeles area residents into our multicultural mosaic, according to reports from The Associated Press. Latino media is to be partially credited for this citizen surge; broadcasters continually emphasize the importance of the vote and encourage each person to make their voice heard—resulting in a successful democracy for all.

Include substantive discussions during your Memorial Day backyard barbecue chats. Follow-up discussion with “do.” Volunteer … tutor … take time to make your community a better place—it can’t happen without you!

Countless people are still dying for yes, our land of opportunity. In their honor, it’s the least we all can do.

Register voters. Be vigilant and vocal in your fight on important issues, in your own backyard. Get involved as a community leader; run for city council. Understand that via the internet, YOU now have worldwide reach! Support your candidate of choice; lend your support by clicking a donation to China or Myanmar.

Encourage people to see your point of view. Massage each message. Persuade and persevere.

Broadcast by example how great it is to live in America. Good friends know I’d like to perhaps live in South Africa one day. But guess what? I’m going for dual citizenship, and cannot fathom ever relinquishing the land of my birth. Like I said, too many have sacrificed too much.

The great majority of us were born here and tend to take our freedom for granted. As a colleague, Gordon Balkcom reminded me this morning, “freedom is not free.” His sister Sharon, a true patriot, sacrificed her life during the World Trade Center tragedy.

First, upgrade your UST quotient and refresh your knowledge of American history. Then, enhance that wisdom with your own cultural insight, reflections and unique perspectives. Finally, spread the wealth and value of “Made in the USA!”

UST - United States (Citizenship) Test
*answers below

1. Who’s in charge of the executive branch?

2. Who wrote the Declaration of Independence?

3. Name one of the two longest rivers in the U.S.

4. How many justices are on the Supreme Court?

5. What is the name of the current Speaker of the US House of Representatives?

6. Name the US war between the North and South?

7. Why does the flag have 13 stripes?

8. Name one US territory?

9. What did Susan B. Anthony do?

10. Who was President during World War I?

* Answers: 1. The President; 2. Thomas Jefferson; 3. Mississippi, Missouri Rivers; 4. Nine; 5. Nancy Pelosi; 6. The Civil War; 7. Represents original 13 colonies; 8. Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, North Mariana Islands; 9. Fought for Women’s Rights, Civil Rights; 10. Woodrow Wilson.

UST questions culled from The Associated Press and

(Hip-Hop, Jazz, Salsa, Country and Classical Versions Soon Available!)

The Nov. 4 Presidential Election represents a historic challenge for us to put the first person of color in the White House. The task is daunting and we have less than six months to achieve our goal.

Black, brown, red, white and blue.
We who represent America’s “global hue”
Will mobilize to elect—
Our nation’s first African American president!

Say it. Sing it. Believe it!

Yes friends, it WILL happen. But each and every American of voting age must do their part. To effect change, you must:

> Understand the issues.

> Donate time and money.

> Start a political discussion group or action committee.

> Share perspectives; make your friends and associates smart!

> Be proactive; every connection among your social network counts.

> Encourage others to “work the web” to their political advantage.

> Eliminate doubt.

> Replace angst with action.

> You are what you think.

* That said, watch your language and thoughts:

Example: Say/think “Change WILL occur.” Not “Change could occur.” Then, back up your statements with facts.

> Understand what we’re up against.

> Respect the process.

> Analyze competitors; act accordingly.

> Fight for your rights—for healthcare, equal wages, decent housing.

Understand we don’t have a minute to waste. While I don’t underestimate the task at hand, I’m already planning an election night party.

Why? Because I REFUSE to not give this task 250% effort. And, I refuse to wake up Nov. 5 with a “Woulda, coulda, shoulda” attitude.

It is possible. It will happen.

Black, brown, red, white and blue.
We who represent America’s “global hue”
Will mobilize to elect—
Our nation’s first African American president!

Slackers, get out of my way! I’m ready to mobilize and energize EVERYONE in my circle to make a difference.

Join the “Circle of O” and make a difference. O stands for Barack Obama, a new world Order, Organization, Opportunity and grassroots to global Outreach. I’m disciplined and dedicated, and if you’re reading this blog, I know you are too.

Get to work. We need your special brand of talent and everyone in your circle to win this election!

Saturday, May 17, 2008


Check out this fascinating story about Joshua Packwood, a young Anglo male who worked hard to earn the distinguished honor of 2008 Valedictorian at Morehouse College, known for educating generations of African American men, including the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King.

This was of particular interest because a family friend, Tor Derricotte, son of Nadine and Kevin, just returned from a Morehouse campus tour. Tor’s a brilliant young man, among the top in his high school class who recently completed a German student exchange program. He’ll soon make his choice between Morehouse, Rider and Rutgers. Many other family friends, including William Thompson, a Charlottesville attorney from my Hometown of Hampton, Virginia, and others are “Morehouse Men.”

The point is: both Tor and Joshua have choices. For other generations, the decision of where to go to college was “decided” by the status quo.

A few weeks back, during the Race and New Media Panel at City Tech, I had a great discussion with a fellow teacher. I told her I went to Howard; she said her younger cousin was at Howard's School of Pharmacy. She explained how an African American institution wasn’t their cousin’s first choice, but said they’re tremendously pleased with the great education they’re receiving!

The secret’s out, blasted via CNN and personal exchanges. Black colleges, namely Morehouse, Howard and Hampton (among countless others) provide a high-quality education—for all. Everyone is beginning to understand the rich context and extreme VALUE of the Black college experience.

Understand life is serious. You can achieve or obtain anything you want, but realize that the rules have changed. Guess what? All generations must realize that future classmates and alums at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) will white or from other countries.

This is what Martin Luther King and our parents generation worked for, opportunity and equal access. With that comes progress.

Friends, we know the intellectual rigor of HBCU’s, but everyone else doesn't. So, I provided a brief a history lesson for my new teacher friend, about biology classes in "The Valley;" where all the science buildings are located behind at Howard, behind Founders Library. I described a statue honoring Biologist Ernest Everett Just, a tribute to one of the founders of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity.

Then, I shared how Biology 101 was used "back in my day" to weed out people who wanted to study nursing, pharmacy or medicine. I still remember folks in my dorm (Meridian Hill Hall), literally crying after a test. You would have thought someone had died. Almost, since their future careers were on life support and needed fast resuscitation if they were to survive! The Biology 101 book weighed about 30 pounds. The professors did not play.

So you want to be a doctor? Pass Biology 101.

Many who first thought they wanted to be a doctor or nurse had to buckle down. Some wiped away their tears and changed their major. Serious business.

[Full disclosure: LSJ did not take Biology 101. While I got decent grades in high school science and considered the course as an elective, my academic advisors rightfully encouraged me not to take it, since it was constructed to reveal only the most astute scientific minds.]

I also told my colleague how many engineering students literally had their names engraved on certain chairs in the library late at night. Yes, friends, I saw them because I was there studying too. Even Howard communications majors have to be serious. The School of Business and virtually every other specialization has a RICH history of success, educating talented young professionals of all races. Many hail from throughout the globe.

And yes, some are white.

So, guess what? Students of all colors must have higher SAT or ACT scores—no

matter what your field of interest. Video game playing and texting must give way to writing skills, studying and advanced placement college-prep courses and high school internships.

If not, you’ll be left behind, by people who look like you AND those who don’t.

We all have a wonderful opportunity to better share our stories, so that young and old can have a greater understanding. The presumptive Democratic Presidential Candidate Barack Obama has opened people’s ears to the possibility of change.

But you have to listen in order to accurately hear the story.

We've got to be big enough to raise the bar on our own level of achievement and that of our children—of all colors. Understand the level and depth of the commitment is often very arduous, but well worth the effort.

To this day, I often sacrifice "fun" or family time to keep honored commitments. It's so important to contribute in a substantive way. If not, why bother? I feel that commitment and passion is a testament to my family, a community of support that goes back more than a hundred years. The sacrifice of many allows me to sit here and edit this blog entry.

Keep your perspective and understand your unique place on the planet. Understand your power. Persevere and most importantly, don’t waste time, because there is simply no limit to what you can achieve or who you can influence.

Know that others are gaining on you and many live half a world away.

I try to communicate this to my students, who fortunately are of all ages and races. The global learning environment found in New York City is something I will always cherish. Go back a generation, and you’ll find scores of over qualified African American teachers, physicians and nurses would not have been able to educate, influence or much less save the life of someone other than their own color.

Think how much farther ahead we’d be as a country if these distinguished citizens had been allowed to fully practice their crafts, instead of being relegated to what were then all-Black institutions, due to the laws of the day.

It's simply mind boggling, right?

Now, we have a chance to rev up our global game. America has the opportunity to truly be cross-cultural. We can diversity our educational and employee development techniques.

Develop school spirit and pride. Celebrate the culture; add your own flavor! Then open your mouth and share the wealth of knowledge right between your ears.

If you don't pass important knowledge on to the next generation, then who will? That’s why many young people, of all races, are well … a bit lost.

Lost as to manners, how to write a concrete sentence and the importance of follow-up and being true to your word. Simple, yet abstract tools young people need to succeed.

Share the rich heritage of HBCU’s, American Colleges and Universities (ACUs) or Global Colleges and University’s (GCU’s). If we don't pass important knowledge on to the next generation, it will be lost. You’re never too young or too old to teach someone about what you remember from your college experience, or what you plan to achieve if you’re currently a student.

Be on a mission to mentor and motivate young people in elementary school, middle school or high school who just need a little push. Only when we propel each other into the next phase, can we all truly excel!

Monday, May 12, 2008


In addition to being my 49th Birthday, May 11 (yesterday) was also Mother’s Day! It’s prime time for reflection and planning for summer, fall and the years ahead.

While many in my “fast approaching 50” lane on the highway of life sweat the big “Five-0,” I cherish the fact that I’ve almost been on the planet for a half-century. In fact, today is the “first day” of my year-long celebration!

Lately, I’ve been contemplating the next 20 years. That’s right, the next two decades. My students and friends can tell you that I’m big into planning, project management and professional development.

If you don’t have a plan – you certainly plan to fail. If I don’t plan for my 70th birthday now, then my actual life will fall short of my big dreams. Anything is possible. Ultimately, I can easily see myself living or teaching in another country. Like a broad smile, New York has a welcoming way of introducing you to new horizons via chance encounters and formal introductions to people from other cultures.

Understand no one will take the reigns of your life except you. The older you get, you’ll find less room for slackers, whiners or complainers. I encourage friends and family to replace “whine” with a simple two word question: Why not? Usually, if you tackle a challenge from a different direction, you can navigate your course; even if the road includes potholes or a little gravel between your toes.

Only you can choose whether the slow or fast lane is right. Turns out both have the same view and sometimes travelers must be left behind as you accelerate. Or, sometimes you have to put on the brakes, pausing to take stock of the road ahead. Only then can you adjusting your speed to fit the new terrain.

In my opinion, each day you’re alive is a serious blessing! There’s so much to be done and there is a world of able bodied people who can contribute to worthy causes. Causes like the desperate situations in Myanmar or Darfur.

It also means you must make choices and realize you can’t continue to do things the same old way. That’s not how positive change occurs. You must let go of the old to embrace the new. Remember you must break from the pack and set your own milestones in order to experience all you’re uniquely destined to achieve.

Everyday celebrations:

> Make everyday a “first day” in celebration of the “new you”
> Prioritize often and liven your existence!
> Concentrate and eliminate what isn’t critical
> Treat yourself right: buy flowers or a favorite fragrance any day of the week!

This a quick plug for my friends Lori and Raymond Bethea, owners of Earthly Horizons Floral Designs and Unique Gifts in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. In addition to brightening my home office, their beautiful work allows me to support an African American businesses right here in my community!

Get over yourself. Life doesn’t revolve around anyone person. You must make the decision to evolve!


Rockefeller Fellow Omar Wasow provided the keynote address last week at City Tech’s First Annual “Race and New Media” conference in downtown Brooklyn;

Wasow’s premise: education is a powerful tool in the world economy. Knowledge of how to build websites, applications and various social network tools are fine—but if you can’t read, write, solve math problems or think critically, all the tech tools in the world don’t do you much good.

You may remember Wasow from the days when his hair was locked and he co-founded, recently acquired by Cathy Hughes’ Radio One for a cool $34 million. Black Planet is part of the Community Connect family of companies which also developed niche websites for Latino and Asian audiences.

His hair is now shorter, with flecks of gray, but trust this young man has important things to say! Wasow is principal of the Brooklyn Excelsior Charter School in Brooklyn and completing his Ph.D. at Harvard. Exuberating with brilliance, you can tell that children in his school not only learn—but excel, mastering skills and lessons that last a lifetime.

A self-prescribed “geek” Wasow’s presentation was tremendous! Many teachers in the audience marveled at his ability to connect and motivate the audience, which ranged from teenagers to 50 somethings; no small feat.

At one point, there was even a “call and response” segment whereby everyone shared a hearty laugh as he gave a history lesson that spanned from his “Donkey Kong” computer game days to the present. As a pre-teen, he fell in love with computers and was encouraged by his family to understand what made them tick. (Yes friends, this does sound very similar to Bill Gates and his parents push to advance his technical inquiry.)

In order to place ourselves in the “computer age continuum,” Wasow asked if any of us had ever been dumped by an online dating service. Validating his point, about a dozen in the audience were still standing, at his request, as the rest of us took our seats. As the audience roared with laughter, this underscored how computers have changed the way people fall in love, think, make connections and do business.

You can tell Wasow and his educational team have a unique way of combining tech with raw talent and a love of teaching and learning, thus creating a new generation of W.E.B. DuBois’ talented tenth.

After his dynamic presentation, I told him I thought he’d make a tremendous Chancellor of New York City’s Public Schools. Joel Klein, watch out for brainiacs like Brooklyn native Wasow, who are a credit to the borough and the teaching profession.

Wasow attended the conference at the request of friend, fellow scholar and Stanford alum Anne Seaton, now a City Tech English professor. Seaton and colleague Aaron Barlow conceived the conference, a unique dialogue that united many fields of study under the new media banner.

The “Race and New Media” conference managed to artfully connect disparate themes such as 1) community organizing techniques via GPS mapping software available at low cost or no cost to advocacy groups; 2) the premiere of “Mizery”, an insightfully artful documentary about a female impersonator from Boston which invited conversations about transgender issues; and 3) discussion of the presumptive Democratic Presidential Nominee Barack Obama and his strident, learned and distinguished pastor, the Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Wright.

For more info about this conference, a planned conference journal (publication date pending) and future CUNY events, visit or contact

Sunday, May 11, 2008


A refreshing money management tool, Mint has been dubbed "best free finance software" by PC Magazine. The website:

> Reveals where your money goes. Whether it's restaurants, shopping or gas, only Mint can provide the big picture.

> Allows you to stop overpaying and start saving. The tool helps users find lower interest credit cards and higher interest savings accounts.

> Helps visitors get 24/7 control of their finances. Mint provides bank fee alerts, ticklers to remind users of upcoming bills, low balances and unusual spending (i.e. potential identity theft or credit fraud).

Like the website says, Mint’s got your back and is the prime financial destination for 20 somethings! Complete with pie charts and graphs, Mint is truly fresh! Coupled with an account, there’s no stopping the next generation, who will be armed with effective financial money management and investment tools.


The following tips are from the May 11 edition of Business Week TV, which airs on Sundays at 11:30 on WABC-TV here in New York. Culled from interviews with students from across the country and representatives from, following is sound advice as recent grads search for their first full time job!

Employment gurus advise recent grads to concentrate on landing the interview and then shine. Focus on a growth opportunity where you can learn functional areas of a company.


1. Research the company where you want to work;
2. Add volunteer work … 81% of employers count this as relevant experience;
3. Polish (or take down) social networking pages that don’t project a professional image.


1. Act bored or cocky;
2. Arrive unprepared or unable to answer relevant questions;
3. Forget to turn off your cell phone, pager, PDA;
4. Avoid questions about pay until you’re offered a job.

Additional Tips from

> Internships can lead to full time employment, with managers sometimes circumventing the formal interview process;

> Marketing, accounting and exercise science are experiencing growth.

> Remember, recent grads are new to the world of full time work. The Business Week TV story stressed that it’s no longer thought of as a 9 to 5, but a 9 AM to 9 PM work experience. Be prepared to work hard and pay your dues;

> Because it’s a “buyer’s market,” many employers are looking for masters and doctorates degrees in highly specialized areas;

> While news reports indicate shortages in certain professions such as nursing or criminal justice, some recent grads are having trouble finding positions in metro areas such as Boston; and

> While companies thought they would experience a 15% increase in employment opportunities during 2008, they have REVISED those numbers to reflect an 8% surge, based on the recent economic downturn.

As a true “experati” or individual with 20+ years work experience, I can tell you that each rung you scale on the career ladder is exhilarating. As an “industry insider and career survivor,” my personal tip is to stay focused on your goals and don’t take no for an answer.

Your dream career will soon be yours if you continue to prepare, pursue and persevere.

Good luck grads!


Okay, I’ve been off my game and haven’t blogged for a while, so I’m posting this late. May is already here and I promise to do better. But, I want to keep my faithful readers posted on what I’ve been up to for the past six weeks.

For the second time in six weeks, I recently had the distinct pleasure of hearing Carol H. Williams, CEO of CHWA—Carol H. Williams Advertising share insight about the marketing communications industry during the 2nd Annual Diversity in Advertising/PR Career Day at the New York Hilton.

Her advice: “Stay in the Game.”

While it’s simple and sound advice, some are reduced to road kill in the game of life, particularly in the world’s most competitive market, NYC. Develop skills, perfect your craft, work hard and stay in the game. With nearly 30 years of journalism, consulting, communications and teaching skills under my belt, I’m still in the game!

Yes, I'm still in the game and still perfecting my talents. Never miss out on an opportunity to learn, make new friends, reestablish old links or make new connections.

Kips Bay Decorator Show House

In addition to raising money, this unique fundraiser links fashionable East Siders with those from the West Side, outer boroughs and beyond, generating funds for a worthy cause.

Conceived 36 years ago by “ladies who lunch,” the blends the best and the brightest design talent, innovation and artistry. A long-time client, Roderick Shade, has twice had the distinct pleasure of being selected as a featured designer, a tremendous industry recognition.

This “premiere” fundraiser for the Kips Bay Boys and Girls Club is open until May 22 at the fashionable Manhattan House, which recently went from luxury rentals to condos. Check it out and pick up concepts you can use in decorating your own apartment or home!

Fashion Forward Personal Reflections

Classic clothes and fashion-forward action was evident April 24 as I seized the opportunity to watch the women on Fifth Avenue as I walked through midtown Manhattan.

Argh! I’ve become my mother and mentors with their classic clothes and view of the world. Not a bad thing : )

My mother, Juanita T. Scott, and long-time mentors, Betty Darrell (retired, Pepsi-Cola Executive) know the value of tailored, classic clothes that stand the test of time.

Just like Joyce Dolin, a woman I worked with years ago at Hill and Knowlton who used to work with Barbara Walters at NBC-TV. When you’d compliment Joyce on a suit, she would have a fantastic story of when she bought it (usually in the 60s, 70s), even though it looked like she got it off the rack at B. Altman’s.

History lesson: The former B. Altman building is now the New York Public Library’s Science, Industry and Business Library. On behalf of W.A. Taylor & Company, distributors of Courvoisier, Joyce used to stage fabulous “tastings” for gentlemen in the lingerie department of B. Altman’s to stimulate Valentine’s Day and holiday gift sales.

Yes, Joyce was a pioneer. This was pre Victoria’s Secret! Just like the classics, love, liquor and lust just never seem to go out of style!

Joyce’s fashion secret: “My dear … buy classics and stay the same size. You’ll find that you can amass a tremendously elegant wardrobe over the years that will never go out of style.”

Millynneum Insight’s word to the wise: Define your own sense of style and use classics as a “condiment” to enhance your individual taste.

SoHa is So Harlem!

During my visit to the relatively new Harlem Marshall’s (yes, I love discount stores), a truly fabulous and elegant older Harlem resident saw me try on a jacket and she said, “You must get that!”

I bought the jacket, but more importantly, I revel in the moment we shared, and the smile on her face when I revealed that I hope to be as “truly fabulous” as she is at her age, and would of course take her fashion advice! She chucked, we connected. For me, that’s a simply priceless exchange!

Coupled with the recent rezoning of 125th Street to include luxury condo hi-rises, real estate developers have dubbed portions of Harlem “SoHa,” or South Harlem.

Guess what? SoHa is still “So Harlem” in my book. Bristling with pride and bustling with street vendors, Harlem remains the epicenter of Black life and is thankfully still teeming with long-time residents, tourists and talented purveyors of books and artifacts that celebrate the African American experience, including a wide range of Obama ’08 memorabilia!

Old and new residents walk shoulder to shoulder with shopping bags and strollers that celebrate generation of families and new residents who’ve moved in. I pleasantly recognized the number of people in wheelchairs of all ages, who were out and about, enjoying the day … shopping and soaking up all the flavor this epicenter of Black life has to offer.

SoHa: So Harlem … so New York … so wonderful!

First Annual WE ACT Earth Day

Take action by becoming a member of WE ACT for Environmental Justice, an important advocacy group that serves northern Manhattan. To learn more about how you can bring the “green” movement home in your neighborhood, visit

WE ACT’s first Earth Day celebration April 19 at the Harlem State Office Building brought together dozens of groups who are mobilizing to conserve energy and protect New York’s environment. The group has won numerous accolades for their pioneering work.

Executive Director Peggy Shepard was recently one of two winners of the 2008 Jane Jacobs Awards, presented by the Rockefeller Foundation for contributions to preserving New York. Peggy’s award is for “lifetime achievement” celebrates more than 20 years of work in support of environmental justice, or E-J, in support of northern Manhattan residents.

Another great thing about Earth Day was an “earthy” reconnection with an old friend and colleague, ace photographer Karl Crutchfield; you probably see his photo credit everywhere! Nearly 100% recovered from a recent health challenge, we shared heartfelt stores of life, laughter and care giving to “less than able” family members.

Carl often cooked for the love of his life. When she passed away a few years back, he began to offer his valuable chef services to elders in his building! Whatever your talent, take the time to share it.

And, take the time to stay in touch. We shared a hearty laugh, because after not seeing me for a few years, he thought I had dropped off the face of the earth or perhaps moved.

While they take time and a little bit of effort to maintain, connections that count are extremely valuable. I’ve learned they don’t always don’t have to be about business … but they do have to be genuine and real!

Otherwise, why bother?

My husband Roland does a much better job of this than I do. I’m getting better, but hey, we can’t change our personalities in one fell swoop. Just do it in your own special way. Me, while I’m known in some circles as “The Verbalizer,” (a.k.a. tremendous talker), I’m also known for my handwritten notes.

Lately, my telephone conversations and notes have waned; overshadowed by blogging, which incorporates my multiple passions! It offers me a comprehensive space to share a Millynneum Insight – my own special brand of ideas.

However, in some ways, Carl was right. I have moved; out of some circles and into new arenas. I’ve moved on to tackle new challenges that I love in areas like teaching and developing a new franchise, G2GPR: Grassroots to Global Public Relations. I’m also having big fun taking my consulting firm to a new level via books, online learning and other important ventures serving students, enterprises and companies of all sizes.

And, I’m proud to celebrate my 18th Year working with Colgate’s Bright Smiles, Bright Futures, the corporation’s pioneering corporate social responsibility (CSR) program, built from the ground up in partnership with the National Dental Association, educators and community groups. To date, the program has reached more than 70 million children and their families in 80 countries.

You have to leave some circles in order to refine and expand your global worldview.

The trick is to take each life lesson, allow the “axis of excellence” to take effect, resulting in a galactic expansion of knowledge and service to the citizens of the world!

Do Yourself a Favor … Devour Documentaries!

Recently, I joined City College of New York colleagues for Cinema Cum Laude, at the Jacob Burns Film Center in Pleasantville, NY. The quaint downtown business and cultural district is literally a stone’s throw from the Metro North station in Westchester County, about 30 miles north of Manhattan.

What a treat! It’s always wonderful to expand your worldview through the wonderful world of cinema.

The films featured work by those completing their Master’s in Fine Arts (MFA) in Media Arts Production at CCNY, a program built and led by David Davidson. While only in its tenth year, students have won many coveted awards including the Student Oscar and The Student Emmy and snagged top honors at “Cityvisions”—the MFA showcase and festival held in Manhattan each May; visit for the full schedule.

Cinema Cum Laude 2008 featured:

> "Hush” (D. Fernando Cordero) A psychological thriller about a young woman grieving for the loss of her child while she also struggles with her abusive husband.

> "Stranger in Paradise” (D. Masood Haque) A documentary about a Pakistani man who wins a visa lottery to pursue his dreams in America, only to be ensnared in a post 9/11 nightmare.

> Tijuana Nada Mas” (D. Yolanda Pividal) A documentary look at the struggle of street kids who live in the busiest border city in the world.

> “Plain Jane” (D. Darren Methlie) A day-in–the-life of a young girl in a small town in rural Connecticut. Forced to cope with an unwanted pregnancy, Jane must come to a decision amidst a family crisis that has driven her away from the father of her child.

> “Work” (D. Erin Harper) A meditation on three disparate lives – a stack trader, a street person and a jazz musician.

> “Three 1-minute Documentaries” (D. Erin Greenwell, D. Daniel Akiba, D. Bangbay Siboliban) dealing with issues of family, death and identity.

> “Two Dollar Dance” (D. Yolanda Pividal) Lonely Hispanic men, working illegally in the US and far from home, visit local bars where they pay money for the fleeting companionship of a dance.