‘American Creed’ documentary premiering on Arizona PBS Feb. 27

A new documentary featuring the powerful personal stories of what it means to be American is coming to Arizona PBS.

“American Creed,” a documentary featuring former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Pulitzer Prize-winning historian David M. Kennedy, is premiering on Arizona PBS on Tuesday, Feb. 27 at 8 p.m.

Rice and Kennedy come together from different backgrounds and points of view to investigate the idea of a unifying American creed.

“I hear more and more people say, ‘we’re coming apart, we’re not civil to one another, our institutions are falling apart’,” Rice said, with Kennedy adding, “In times like this, we need stories that remind us of the ideals that hold us together.”

Written, directed and produced by Sam Ball, the stories in “American Creed” are told from the points of view of unlikely activists who creatively bridge cultural, economic and political divides.

In his hometown of Hazleton, Pennsylvania, baseball manager Joe Maddon brings new immigrants and long-time residents together after a controversial local election. In Oklahoma, Lindbergh Elementary School principal Deidre Prevett, a dual citizen of Muscogee (Creek) Nation and the U.S., fights for the struggling children and transient families of many different ethnicities who pass through her hometown of East Tulsa.

Acclaimed novelist Junot Diaz from urban New Jersey and Marine Sgt. Tegan Griffith from rural Wisconsin work in very different spheres to achieve “the dream of an America where we can be on each other’s side.”

Based in Seattle, Eric Liu brings community organizers together across ideological divides. By “being open and listening,” the founders of the grassroots organizations MoveOn.org and the Tea Party Patriots unexpectedly find common ground. In the Arkansas Delta, where mechanization threatens agricultural jobs, entrepreneurs Leila Janah and Terrence Davenport start an innovative technology company based on what they see as America’s promise of equal opportunity for all.

Adding depth and context as each story builds on the next, Rice and Kennedy lead a moving discussion of the question at the heart of this film (What does it mean to be American today?) with a group of first-generation college students at Stanford University, where Rice teaches political science and Kennedy teaches history. These students find themselves on an uncertain pathway to full participation in American life; their commentary is insightful and affecting, in surprising ways.

The feature length film “American Creed” will stream at PBS.org for the duration of this multi-year campaign. A wider selection of short films, stories and reflections on America’s ideals and identity can be found at americancreed.org, along with listings of local in-person community conversation events around the country.

Audiences are encouraged to share their own stories, ideas and reflections on the themes of the film on all social media platforms using the hashtag #AmericanCreedPBS. Students around the country will experience “American Creed” in the classroom – as part of their history, civics and social studies courses – thanks to a partnership between “American Creed” producer Citizen Film, co-producer WTTW Chicago, the National Writing Project, Facing History and Ourselves, PBS LearningMedia and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting’s American Graduate Program. Educator resources and other features, including a selection of timely and relevant stories created by local PBS stations participating in the “American Creed” public engagement campaign, will be curated on americancreed.org in the weeks, months and years following broadcast and launch.

American Creed Public Screening

Arizona PBS also is partnering with the Chandler Public Library to host a special screening of highlights from “American Creed” on Wednesday, March 7, from 6:30-8:45 p.m. at the Chandler Downtown Library on 22 S. Delaware St. Event registration is open to the public at https://chandlerlibrary.libcal.com/event/3941864.

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