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Raising Bertie: A screening and discussion on inequality and opportunity in rural America

The Urban Institute will host a special reception and screening of Raising Bertie, an unfiltered look at the poorest county in North Carolina told through the eyes of three young African American men. The film explores the complex and interconnected circumstances they face living in rural poverty: limited support from schools, the community, and role models; the growth of mass incarceration; the geographic isolation of a rural community; and the struggle to build a better life. Following the screening, a panel will discuss the issues and themes presented in the film, including solutions for new opportunities in the communities that need them most.  

Speakers include 

  • Margaret Byrne, director, Raising Bertie @mbyrnefilm
  • Ian Kibbe, producer, Raising Bertie @ianrkibbe
  • Lisa Mensah, undersecretary for rural development, US Department of Agriculture @usdaRD 
  • Vivian Saunders, featured in Raising Bertie @HiveKeeper
  • Sarah Rosen Wartell, president, Urban Institute (moderator) @swartell
about the film

Raising Bertie is the intimate, award-winning, six-year portrait of three young African American men coming-of-age in North Carolina’s rural Bertie County. Produced by Chicago’s own internationally acclaimed Kartemquin Films (Hoop Dreams, The Interrupters), Raising Bertie movingly interconnects narratives of family, youthful innocence, systemic racism, educational inequity, poverty and unemployment, and the will to succeed in the face of formidable odds. The film puts a face, a name, and a story to a generation of overlooked and under resourced rural youth while expanding current narratives about young African American men. 



The event has been organized with the Michon Boston Group. 

 The program will begin promptly at 6:00 p.m. with a reception at 5:30 p.m.
For inquiries regarding this event, please contact


Date & Time Wednesday, December 7, 2016
Studio Theatre 1501 14th Street NW
Washington , DC , 20005
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