DETROIT PUBLIC TELEVISION TO LEAD NATIONAL DIALOGUE ON ARAB AMERICANS
Foundation Grant Will Fund Program To Increase Understanding of Diversity
Detroit Public Television, WTVS-TV, (DPTV) will lead a new national program designed to increase public understanding of Arab American history, culture, diversity and contributions to society. The project is funded by a $250,000 grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation of Battle Creek, Mich.
The outreach program, called "Arab American Stories – A National Dialogue" is based on the 13-part public television series "Arab American Stories" that features stories of Arab Americans of all walks of life to put a human face on the Arab American experience. The program encourages local PBS stations, as well as other community partners around the country, such as library systems, to host events, forums and dialogues to bring the television content to life through community conversations. The goal is to reach non-Arab Americans, as well as Arab-Americans. DPTV is creating a toolkit to aid those hosting a dialogue, to engage their communities, help publicize the series and build an audience. DPTV will be involved in all facets of the national dialogue, offering full support to those hosting conversations.
Using information from the Arab American Institute, DPTV identified library systems in the top Arab American-populated areas, which have committed to hosting at least one interactive dialogue session, featuring session material guided by nationally recognized scholars and developed by DPTV. Those library systems are:
- Boston Public Library
- Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh
- Cleveland Public Library
- Detroit Public Library
- Free Library of Philadelphia
- Houston Public Library
- Los Angeles Public Library
- Miami-Dade Public Library
- Queens Borough Public Library
- Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County
The American Library Association has endorsed this program.
Additionally, DPTV will support the discussion with a website that will compile and convene content, as well as host virtual community discussions, featuring topical experts. DPTV will also write a curriculum for middle and high school students that will meet national core standards, so teachers can use stories as a basis for educational instruction. DPTV expects the program to begin in September.
"Storytelling is an important part of racial healing," said Dr. Gail Christopher, vice president – program strategy for the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. "We believe partnering with Detroit Public Television is an effective way to share more stories – through the media and in educational settings to help increase understanding of the Arab American community."
"The Kellogg Foundation’s investment in this program is an investment in cross-cultural understanding throughout the United States," said Rich Homberg, President and General Manager of DPTV. "This program is the latest way to fulfill our mission of going beyond television to use the power of media to help solve important issues faced by communities. As the public broadcaster with the largest reach in the region where the largest number of Arab Americans live, we know how to collaborate with experts and lead strategic planning to guide this dialogue."
Two thirds of all Arab Americans are concentrated in 10 states. One third of the total live in California, New York, and Michigan. About 94% of Arab Americans live in metropolitan areas. Los Angeles, Detroit, New York/NJ, Chicago and Washington, D.C., are the top five metropolitan areas of Arab American concentration.
About Detroit Public Television
Detroit Public Television (DPTV) is the non-commercial, viewer-supported PBS-member station watched by more than 1.5 million people in Detroit and Southeast Michigan and another 1.2 million people throughout Canada. DPTV also manages WRCJ 90.9 FM, Detroit's classical and jazz radio station, in collaboration with the license-holder, the Detroit Public Schools. The radio station is located in the Detroit School of Arts. DPTV is licensed to the Detroit Educational Television Foundation and governed by a volunteer board of trustees from the local business, civic, and cultural communities.