I was privileged and proud to have worked on the five-year documentary project, "Why Us: Left Behind and Dying." The film and research project explored the myriad reasons why the HIV/AIDS epidemic is hitting the African-American community so hard. Those reasons include poverty, incarceration, homophobia, gender inequality, shame, denial, secrecy, church dogma, drug use, incarceration, racism, and health disparities.
It became a critically-acclaimed documentary that played in film festivals around the world. We were grateful for those appreciative audiences.
But, for the work to have real impact, it needs to be in the hands of educators and health care workers. And it needs to be seen by Black youth. To that end, a curriculum was developed for high schools. Below are the videos that go with the lesson plan modules for that curriculum.
I invite you to explore this important health crisis through the eyes of disadvantaged high school students from the Homewood neighborhood in Pittsburgh. They became the film's reporters and interviewers. And one of them, the courageous and curious Tamira Noble, became the film's narrator, writer and production assistant.
The film was the project of director/writer/producer Claudia Pryor Malis, who sadly passed away recently from cancer. She was a visionary, compassionate, creative journalist, dearly loved by all she touched.
I was a producer/writer/co-investigator on the project. Editor for both the film and the curriculum video segments was Howard Malis. Other major credits on the film were the late Nene Ofuatey-Kodjoe (Producer/Co-investigator), Vivian Siu (Producer), Robert Shepard (Director of Photography), Chris Ivey (Cinematographer) and Jeffrey Edrich (Sound Engineer).
The curriculum was developed by Dr. Kathryn Kailikole. She is an experienced curriculum developer who holds a doctoral degree in education from the University of California San Diego, a masters degree in mathematics education from the University of California Santa Cruz, and a bachelors degree in applied mathematics from the University of California Berkeley.
Lesson One: The Project Begins
Lesson Two: Genetic Variation
Lesson Three: Poverty
Lesson Four: Views of Black Sexuality
Lesson Five: Secrecy, Shame and Fear
Lesson Six: Gender Inequality
Lesson Seven: Masculinity
Lesson Eight: Sexual Orientation
Lesson Nine: The Church
Lesson Ten: Self-Hatred
Lesson Eleven: Drugs and Prison
Lesson Twelve: Migration
Lesson Thirteen: Access to Medicine
Lesson Fourteen: Distrust and Conspiracy
Lesson Fifteen: HIV and SIV
Lesson Sixteen: Subtypes
Lesson Seventeen: Natural Transfer Theory
Lesson Eighteen: Serial Passage Theory
Lesson Nineteen: OPV Theory
Lesson Twenty: Student Project Ends