Preview Jan. 30: Suburban Poverty, “American Promise,” NBA Commissioner David Stern

January 24, 2014 at 2:48 pm

On the next edition of MetroFocus, PBS NewsHour Weekend’s Megan Thompson reports on the growing problem of poverty in America’s suburbs. On the 50th anniversary of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s declaration of a “War on Poverty,” Thompson takes us to Suffolk County, Long Island to meet Leigh Scozzari, a mother of two, living below the poverty line.

“Poverty in these kinds of communities can be hidden,” Elizabeth Kneebone, a fellow at the Brookings Institution and co-author of “Confronting Suburban Poverty in America,” tells Thompson. “It can be harder to identify or even understand the extent to which need has grown, because it may not be easily visible.”

In a conversation with MetroFocus host Rafael Pi Roman about her reporting on Long Island, Thompson says she found local officials struggling to help the suburban poor while the federal and local governments are facing huge deficits. Thompson says, “This is obviously a huge problem for Suffolk County and localities across the country. I think one issue is changing perceptions, so when it’s time to allocate this limited pot of money it’s going to the people who really need it.”

Coming up on PBS’ documentary series POV on February 3 is “American Promise.” It’s an intimate look at the thirteen-year-long journey of two African-American boys as they enroll in and attend the Dalton School, one of New York’s most elite private schools.

The filmmakers are the parents of one of the boys. Co-director, co-producer and parent, Dr. Joe Brewster, joins MetroFocus host Rafael Pi Roman to talk about making the film, the educational achievement gap for African-American boys, and his new book “Promises Kept: Raising Black Boys to Succeed in School and in Life.” Dr. Brewster says he and his wife believe the years-long filming process was “… an opportunity to go somewhere where filmmakers haven’t gone before, the independent school. We thought it was an opportunity to document diversity.”

When NBA Commissioner David Stern started his job in 1984, it wasn’t a sure thing that professional basketball would attract audiences and fans in the millions. But as Stern prepares to retire on February 1, 2014, basketball is one of sports’ biggest attractions with 30 NBA teams, TV contracts and international fame.

Stern tells long-time New York sportscaster Len Berman, “I’m very proud of being on the right side of social responsibility and I’m proud of the WNBA. I’m proud of the NBA development league. I’m proud of our digital efforts. I’m particularly proud of our global efforts.”