Hear Every Voice: NYC and the National Park Service, a documentary by Stephen Ogumah was created in the summer of 2009. This film documents a civic engagement project produced in partnership with Brooklyn College of the City University of New York and Gateway National Recreation Area, a unit of the National Park Service.
Made possible in part by a grant from the National Park Foundation through the generous support of the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund and the Popplestone Foundation the project was an effort to reach out to the residents of Brooklyn and Queens. This was one of the tandem projects created to coincide with the airing of the Ken Burns documentary, America’s Best Idea about National Parks, in September.
We were very fortunate to have worked together with many dedicated and creative individuals: Professors Jerry Krase and Jennifer Adams of Brooklyn College, Steve Ogumah, filmmaker, Jahneille Edwards, Nyocia Edwards, Carlen Primus, Binish Qadeer, Zareen Tasneem, and Candice Wright– interns from Macaulay Honors Academy, Brooklyn College, and the Brooklyn College Academy HS, and our own Sheridan Roberts and Charles Markis National Park Rangers.
Professor Krase’s Visual Sociology Class provided the foundation for the students who became the interns for the project. These students received special training in researching community demographics and interviewing techniques. They learned about the National Park Service, its mission of stewardship and Gateway National Recreation Area’s rich and diverse resources, facilities and programs from the park’s knowledgeable and enthusiastic ranger staff. Through their interviews in Caribbean communities of Brooklyn and Queens, the students have created a bridge for Gateway to a population that has had limited exposure to the breadth of the park and have opened a dialog between the park and the community. This film represents more than the completion of a rewarding project – it is the beginning of new understanding and involvement.