“Let the Little Light Shine” is about a high-performing, top-ranked African–American elementary school in Chicago that is threatened with closure and transformation into a high school favoring the needs of the community’s wealthier residents. Parents, students, and educators mobilize to fight for the school’s survival. The story — which was directed by Michigan State University alum Kevin Shaw — follows parents-turned-organizers, students and staff as they advocate to preserve National Teachers Academy (NTA), which is a safe haven for children and a community bedrock in Chicago’s fast growing South Loop neighborhood. The theme of gentrification is rarely viewed through this lens of education, where “well-intentions” can be critically viewed as privileged desires, creating a disconnect dividing and reshaping communities across the country. Michigan premiere.
AFTER THE FILM: The post-film discussion following both events will include members of the filmmaking team, including director Kevin Shaw and subjects of the film. The conversation will be led by Free Press education equity reporter Lily Altavena.