The Antidote (2020) - full transcript

Made in response to the times we are living in, THE ANTIDOTE is a feature documentary that weaves together stories of kindness, decency, and the power of community in America. It's about ...

- Morning.
- Good morning.

- Hi, guys.
- Hi.

[indistinct chatter]



- Over here!

- Okay, guys, I need all--
- Morning.

- Good morning.
- How's it going?

- Good.
- You guys all ready?

both: Yeah.
- Okay.

- Today is Tuesday,
January 8, 2018,

and now it's time for
our two minutes of silence.

[bell dings]

[solemn music]

♪ ♪

Okay, make it a great day.

♪ ♪



- [speaking indistinctly]

Hi.

- Oh, hi.
- Aww.

- Hi. Happy New Year.
- Happy New Year.

- How are you?
- Good.

- Hi, Reuben.

- I woke him up
to come see you guys.

- Oh, did you? Hi, sweetheart.
Oh, there's a smile.

Do you remember me?
It's been a whole month.

Hi. It's been a whole month.
A-boo.

Thanks for letting him
be our little baby.

He's so sweet.

- Yeah.
- I guess you like him, huh?

This is Reuben.

- Oh, what a cutie.

- So he comes to fourth grade
once a month.

Are you ready to go to class?

- Where's the baby?
- He's coming.

He's downstairs in the office.

I just have to put out
his blanket,

and then I'll go get him.

Have a good day.

Okay.

- Or anywhere?
I now have my secret...

[indistinct chatter]

all: ♪ Hello, baby Reuben ♪

♪ And how are you? ♪

[soft music]

♪ ♪

- Raise your hand
if you can tell me

how you think baby Reuben is.

We just sang him the question,
"How are you?"

How do you think he is?

- Happy.
- You think he's happy?

What's he doing
to tell you that?

- He wanted you
to touch his feet.

- Did he move his feet
in front of you?

So how does it make you feel
when you see Reuben happy?

How do you feel?

- Awesome.
- Happy?

It's--you know that feelings
are contagious?

You can catch a feeling.

[Reuben coos]

What do you think he's learning
when I play with him

and I look at him like this

and I'm looking at him
in the eye

and I'm touching his head?

What do you think he's
learning?

- Like, kind of, like,
a new emotion,

like, feeling, like,

cool, like you're in a room
with nobody in it,

nothing, like,
in a blank room, and--

- And it's just me
caring for him.

- Yeah.

- He is learning to be
a more caring human being

so he'll be able--

you'll be able to show
that you care for people

because I'm showing you.

♪ ♪

[uplifting music]

♪ ♪

[all speaking native language]

- Phoibe is my grandma.

She was sad when we left
the refugee camp.

I remember her coming
when we were about to leave.

She was so sad,
she didn't even say anything,

and I know she was so sad

because she knew we couldn't
make it in the United States.

Now she's living
in Anchorage with us.

We enjoy having
conversation with her.

She's telling us what happened
before, a hundred years ago.

I'm from Congo.

When I was three years old,
we moved to Rwanda,

and I lived in a refugee camp
before I came here.

We didn't have electricity.

We were treated as people
from other country.

I used to miss my country,
like, a lot, a lot,

that I can think
about it every night,

but right now I feel like
the U.S. is my home.

[phone rings]

- The client is here.
- Okay.

Is it Achmed
that's there with you?

- He is, yep.

- Okay, and it's his mom
that's there?

- That's correct, yes, uh-huh.
- And refresh me.

What country is she in?

- She is right now in
Ethiopia, in Addis Ababa.

- Okay.

- Hi-ho. How are you?

Oh, look at Rosie walking.
I have not seen Rosie walking.

Usually she's in your arms.
Look at her.

- Okay, you're gonna work on
when and where today.

- Okay, we'll try
to find someone,

Hope, that can maybe help you
with driving, like,

'cause you live far away,
so it's hard, like,

to get from a place
to the other.

- Yeah, yeah.

- Your job is to just graduate
from high school.

- So the bank
will lend you money.

Lend--lend means
you can have it,

but I get it back.

- We have the Welcome Fund,
which is, like,

unrestricted money that donors
from, like, around Anchorage

donate to
to help us fill in

all the voids that don't exist
through all the grants.

If the client doesn't have
the means and he comes back in,

talk to him because if this $55
is a big difference

between his ability to, like,
get the housing that he needs,

then tell him
not to worry about it.

Tell him the Welcome Fund
covered it.

- Yeah, okay.
- So...

Horrific things
happen to refugees.

You have met the
qualifications of a refugee

'cause you have experienced
extreme trauma.

- Hello?
- Hi, is this Ramiz?

Most of our clients and the
people that we are resettling

have fled violent outbursts of
civil war or ongoing conflict,

militias coming through towns,
burning villages,

attacking women
at very high rates,

some of the highest rates of
sexual violence against women.

- When people flee
from those places

and they go
to neighboring countries

or they leave those countries
and come here,

some of those people
are traumatized, like,

and how do you help
such people?

- Every time I think,
"How is it gonna be for them?"

Clients from, let's say,
a refugee camp from Somalia,

they never saw a shower,
so we're teaching them,

and then they learn
very quickly.

My job is absolutely special.

I see them at the airport,

and a year later,
they are different people.

- When I first came
to United States,

it was completely
a new country.

I didn't even know
how to get on the bus.

Solange, she's my auntie,

and we lived together when
we were in a refugee camp.

- Once you dip it the first
time, you can swipe it there.

- She doesn't speak or hear,

and we enjoy seeing her
in Anchorage.

Maombi, she's my cousin.

She lives in Anchorage,

and she came one day
before my grandma came.

- Hey. How are you?
You look very pretty today.

- Out of the atrocities
of World War II

and out of the Holocaust,

the globe said,

"We need to ensure the safety
of every human being."

[indistinct speech]

- And then we see that
reflected

all the way down
to small-town America,

who is stepping up
to do their part to ensure

that when that person
gets here,

they're welcomed to a place,

and they have all the resources
that they need.

- All right, we will put food
in the refrigerator.

- And that's the heart
of the Resettlement Program.

That's the heart of why someone
who's 102 years old

has the right to come to this
country and join her family,

and as a globe, we have
decided that that is a fact.

If we were having this
conversation a few years ago,

I would tell you the
likelihood that you would

end up in the United States
was very high.

We used to welcome over
half of the world's refugees.

That's not the case today.

The value of a human life
is the value of a human life

regardless of who you are.

♪ ♪

[indistinct chatter]

- How did this all come
to happen?

How did the universe start?

Like, there has to be
a beginning and an end,

and, like, it's completely
unexplainable without

some sort of higher power

starting the whole cycle
itself.

- Yeah, when you really think
about it, like,

there is a lot of things that
can't really be explained--

miracles,

something like--I've known
people who feel like

they were reincarnated
from other--like,

things that can't
exactly be explained.

- Like, things--
- I have a strong faith,

and I didn't want--and, like,
I would tell my mom

about the class and everything,
and she was like,

"Oh, don't forget
about your faith."

- If you don't understand
something, you can be fearful.

You can--can be angry at it.

- I did not want to take
this class at all.

You know, I tried so hard
to get out of the class.

I talked to my counselors
and everything,

and I was like,
"I don't wanna take this class.

"I don't see the point.

Like, I'm not in
any of those religions."

Like, I have my own religion,
and that's it.

If you wanna have a different
religion, that's cool,

but I don't want--I don't wanna
learn about your religion.

Like, it's a waste
of time, yeah.

[dramatic music]

♪ ♪

all: ♪ All hail to thee ♪

♪ Johansen High ♪

[whistle blasts]

- Here you go!
Yeah!

[applause]

[band playing upbeat music]

♪ ♪

- Morning.
Where is everybody?

Whoa, boys.
Gentlemen.

No, no, no.
Be nice. I know.

[indistinct chatter]

- When you were writing,
you were like...

- All right, folks.
Religion, what the heck is it?

One of the elements of religion
that is the most common

is a belief
in an absolute power.

Now, some religions
call this idea "God."

Some religions call this idea
"Allah."

Some call it the "Tao."
Some call it "Brahman."

There are different ways
of seeing these ideas,

different relationships that
people have with this idea.

Not everybody has chosen
a religion for themselves.

Some people believe
there is no spiritual world

to connect with.

That is called atheist.

Agnostic is different.

Agnostic is the idea
that you're just not sure.

Religion is like--it's like
a vehicle that gets you

from this human experience
that we all have,

and it connects you
with a spiritual one.

The First Amendment
to the Constitution says,

"Congress shall make no law

"respecting
an establishment of religion

or prohibiting
the free exercise thereof."

What is the topic
of the first right?

- Religion.
- Religion.

That's how important it is
in this country,

this idea
of freedom of religion.

- Well, if that came up,

then the best thing
for that person to do is come

and talk to me about it,
and we will figure out

if we can't pursue
an--you know, a compromise.

But in all of my years,
doesn't happen.

Mm-hmm.

Most people are like,
"Okay, teach me.

Tell me what you got."
So.

Imagine if we were sitting
in here

and someone official walked
into our classroom and said,

"You know, we're having trouble
with some kids,

"and we need
to remove some people.

"We are going to remove
all of the people

who have on
yellow striped shirts."

- Poor Tawny.
- Bye, Tawny.

And we all look around,
and we're like,

"Oh, thank God
it wasn't me," right?

A few minutes pass,
and they come back,

and they look around,

and they go,
"Yup, you know what?

I think everyone wearing black
needs to come with us too."

- I'm running.
- Seriously.

Should I have spoken up before,

when they take poor little
Tawny away

because she has on
yellow stripes?

Maybe I made a mistake keeping
my mouth shut, thinking I

was comfortable sitting here
in my black,

because now it's my turn.

We need to protect the rights
of the smallest minority

because in doing that, we're
protecting our own rights.

We can't get too comfortable.

We have to stand up
for each other.

That's what the Constitution
is reminding us,

stand up for each other.

[somber music]

♪ ♪

- This degree means
everything to me.

I didn't wanna wake up
in five more years

and still be a server.

I didn't wanna wake up
in five more years

and be a hairdresser
making $10 an hour.

I couldn't do that.

- It's, like, upside down.
- 4 times 10, which is 40.

- You just draw what you saw.
- I'm a single mother,

and all you know
that you need to do is wake up,

go to school, you know,
go to work, see my son,

do it again the next day,
and that's very hard.

- Did you get it to focus?
- I think it's down too low.

Going to school,
working full-time at night,

I went months
without seeing my son.

He didn't want me
when I was home.

He wanted my mom.

He was calling my mom "Mom,"

and it sucked.

So now we're moving
to the next magnification.

- Just did.

- I really thought I could
hold it down,

but I was freaking out
about my bills.

When I tell you I'm broke,
I am broke.

Yeah, that one's kind of hard.

I'm the one who stays up crying
in the middle of the night

wondering, like,
how am I gonna pay this?

How are we gonna make it?

- I'm Russell.

I work at the college.
- Okay.

- I'll buy your coffee,
and I'll buy you lunch

if I can talk to you
for ten minutes.

Will that work?
- Yeah.

- Right?
What's working for you here?

What are we doing well,
and what do we need to know

that's not going so well?
I'm Russell.

- Nice to meet you, Millefer.
- I work here at the college.

Tell me your name again.

- Millefer.
- Millefer?

- Yes.
- That's a beautiful name.

Tell me about...
When I came here,

I looked at our success rates,

and more of our students
were failing out

than they were graduating, and
I wanted to understand why.

- You have to take care

of your kid first
versus going to school.

- I just started asking
students questions,

and the responses that
our students told me

that were keeping them

from being successful
in the classroom

changed who I am personally
and professionally

because their biggest barriers
to classroom success

had nothing to do
with the classroom.

- Hello.
- Hello.

- How are you?
- Good. How are you?

- Come on in.
How can I help you today?

- You can either get assistance
with tuition,

with textbooks,
with transportation,

or with childcare.
What questions do you have?

- I just wanted to know about
the food pantry and--

- The food pantry? Yeah.

- 54% of our students
are food insecure,

and 59% of our students
are housing insecure.

- They're gonna repossess
my car,

and I'm not gonna be able
to get to school.

I'm gonna mess
everything all up again.

- And then here's the number.
- For the utility bill?

- Transportation, childcare,
healthcare, utility payments,

legal services, housing,
things that I'd always assumed

were someone else's
responsibility,

I understood had to be Amarillo
College's responsibility.

- I'm working really hard,

and I really want to stay
in school,

and it's only--I just wanna be
able to pay--pay my car.

I have military PTSD
from combat,

and I'm still trying
to go to school.

- Okay, so Angelique Martin,

she was needing help
paying her car.

So she's--has her car through
Auto Connection here in town.

She pays a small amount
every two weeks,

and she had used
the financial aid

that she received
the first eight weeks

to pay all up until this point,

and so now she needs
help paying for this--

- What's her GPA?
- It's low. Mm-hmm.

- We can't help her.
We can't help her.

- No?
Okay.

- Maybe we could call the
car place and advocate for her.

- I don't mind doing that,
but I was also thinking of maybe

asking if the church can help.

[phone line beeping, dialing]

- I was calling in regards

to one of your customers,
Angelique Martin.

- Okay.
- If we are gonna improve

their education attainment,

We had to connect them
to resources

that our community had
to help them

overcome the life barriers that
they experienced every day.

That's where the magic
is for our community

because that's how we're gonna
break the cycle of poverty

that is not just crippling the
Amarillo or panhandle region.

It's gonna cripple
our entire country.

But the only way someone

who's grown up
in generational poverty

is gonna be able to get
a degree and move out of it

is if they have support
and resources,

and we're trying
to systemically do that here.

- Hi. I'm Jordan Herrera.
- Hi.

- I'm here to pick up a check
from Mark. Is he here today?

- Yeah.
- I got a check here for you.

All right.
- Thank you so much, Mark.

- Have a nice day.
- We appreciate it.

- You betcha.

- Good morning.

- Good morning.
- Are you Paul?

- You must be Jordan.
- I'm Jordan.

- How you doing, Jordan?
- Good, nice to meet you.

- It's a pleasure
to meet you, Jordan.

- Hi. So here's the check
for $300 for Angelique.

- Okay.
Oh.

- Our gratitude for
helping her out and--

- Oh, and here's
what I'm gonna do.

We're gonna kick in
a little gift ourselves.

So the first--

- Oh, that's amazing.

- Forgive charge, and we're
gonna forgive an extra $100.

- Well, thank you so much.
We appreciate it so much.

- Well, you're
certainly welcome.

We--we appreciate the efforts,

the community effort
and the church.

- Yeah.
- And our support of the--

- It takes a village.

- That's r--well,
that's what it does.

- It does.

- And what I really like
about it is

it's--so it's showing
local people

doing--doing some local good
to help people...

- Absolutely.
- Make a step up,

and that's--we need
more of that.

- Hi, beautiful.
- How are you?

- I like that.
- Oh, thank you.

- The car situation
that you brought up to us,

I was able to talk
to a church here in town,

so we were able to go
pick up a check this morning

from the church for $300

to help pay
both of the car payments

that needed to be paid
for September.

- Oh, thank you so much.
- You're welcome.

- I've never been turned down.
You guys never turn me down.

- We're--we're never gonna
turn you down.

We won't. We won't,
and you know what, Angelique?

All of the services that we
have here are for this reason.

That's why they're here.

They exist to help students
like you.

You can provide
a service all day, every day.

You can hand out
whatever you think people need,

but until you can make somebody
feel like a human being

and that they're worthy of your
time, it's not gonna matter.

- Ultimately, what we all want
is to be loved,

to have a family, to have a
job that pays us a living wage

so that we can walk in hope
and provide for those

that we love
and share a life with.

The undercurrent of fear,
I think,

is an undercurrent
of economic injustice.

Opportunity for everyone
rather than just the few.

- The globe is most unkind

when we determine
that someone's life

holds more value
than another person's life.

That's the start of unkindness.

- With a society that has
so much available to it

in physical material,
things, our country is at risk

because we've just forgotten
how to care for each other.

- Hi, how are you?
- Somewhere along the way

it became okay

to just kinda walk over bodies
to get to where you're going.

How disastrous
does it have to become

before we bring out the better
angels of our inner souls?

- Does that sound right?
- Yes.

- But as a society,
where did we lose our way

and say that this is okay
that a whole bunch of people

who live in abject poverty
end up,

years later, with somebody
living on the streets

'cause they don't have the
skills to survive in our world?

- Should we see who's
in the park first?

See if there's anyone
in Kushner Park?

- Might be too cold
to work, huh?

- It's fucked up.
It's fucked up.

I mean, I'm fucked up.
I--it's my problem.

I have the problem.

- Put your arm--pledge
allegiance for a minute.

Put your arm there,
just like this.

Just relax for a moment, okay?

So he's gonna go over
to McInnis House.

We've got one bed.

We just wanna be sure his vital
signs are okay before we go.

- Yeah.

- And I think in the back
of my--did it stop?

- "Error, error."

- Oh, did it say
"error reading?"

- Yeah, error.
- Okay.

- I--I'm an idiot. I don't know
what the hell I'm doing.

- No, I--
- Is this blood pressure?

- It is blood pressure,
but don't worry, you know?

We'll live with it
'cause your oxygen's okay.

We can live with it.
Let me see this hand.

Let me see.

Oh, they're warm there.
You're warm. Okay.

- Yeah, but I'm still
starting to get--

- And is your feet--how bad
are your feet?

Are they pretty bad?

- Trench foot and frostbite
and everything else.

- Kay, we won't take them off.
We'll look at them when--

- I don't even know--
- No, we'll look at them

when you get over
to McInnis House.

You don't have to do that now.

I'm kinda glad
you're coming in.

I haven't seen you
in a long time.

- Hey, love you, Jim.

You are my favorite person
in the world.

- Okay, let me get--oops.

- He's a real human being.

Yeah, he's always been
incredibly genuine,

very kind to me, you know?

I mean, in ways
that you can't even express.

I can't even say
how many things

that these people
have done for me.

They've done for me from--than
I could do for myself.

- You look like you're stiff.

When you go out to take care
of a group of homeless people,

and I would say in particular
the street folks,

they will show you
the weaknesses

in the mainstream health care
system in a second...

So it's coming in both hands?
All right.

- Things that we didn't
even realize.

There is no doubt
that homelessness

is a public health emergency
and tragedy,

and it's deadly.

My name is O'Connell.
I'm Dr. O'Connell.

What do you need, anything?

- I need mental health,
and I want--

- Let me introduce...
Street medicine

can actually be
just an extension

of regular primary care,

just--just trying to address
the particular obstacles

that group of people
have to coming into care.

Oh, okay.

- I need your help.
- In private?

- Yeah.
- Okay.

We can do it in private.

We learned that you can
manage heart failure.

You can manage hypertension.

You can manage a lot of chronic
diseases by bringing,

you know, your blood pressure
cuffs and your things outside.

- Do they still use those?
- I still think you had

a little bit of a concussion
when you fell down,

and I'd rather have you in,
Bobby, okay?

- If you're trained
in medicine,

there is no career path to
take care of homeless people.

And you don't need detox,
right?

- No, no.

- It was a nurse who said,

"You've been trained
all wrong," and she took away

all the tools of my trade,
and she said, "What we do

is we tend to invite people
in to soak their feet,"

and she said, "So I'm gonna
have you soak feet."

- Remember, foot care clinic
is a gateway into primary care,

not because we will just want
to disturb people

and just bother
with vital signs,

but it gives us an indication as
to somebody's health condition.

Does it make sense?

- Yeah.
- All right.

- What's your name?
- Walter Bogar.

- Any allergies?
What happened to this foot?

- It's a long story.
It's a gangrene toe.

It's a dry gangrene.
It'll fall off eventually.

- My feet are soaking wet.
Oh, walking in the rain.

- How are you today?
Do you have any allergies?

Have you had any vaccine
this year?

- [speaks indistinctly]

- Let's see what's going
on here.

Ooh. Did you see that this
is really rough, Eric?

You feel my thumb there?

- Yeah.
- How about here?

- Yeah.
- Okay.

- Let's take a look
at the rest.

- Oh, I can do this.

- Any pain down here?
- No.

[indistinct chatter]

- Yeah.
- Yeah, let me see. Okay.

- Oh, this?
- I don't know why it's green.

- My feet were wet all week.

I walked around in wet sneakers
for a week.

- Oh, no.
- Yeah.

- That's bad news.
- Oh, thank you.

- So tell me, how's that?
That help you?

- Yeah.
- Okay, okay.

- The hotter the better.
- Okay.

- The hotter the better.

- I was given this opportunity
in America to go to school

and then get
my education in line,

so I knew deep inside me

that I need to give back
to this community

that have supported me.

Where is my friend?

- How are you, darling?
- Okay, let's do it.

- Okay.

- There.
- You do such a good job.

You take good care of me.
You really do.

- Thank you. The mayor is here.
The mayor is here.

Good morning, Mayor.

- Most homeless people

don't hear somebody
mention their name

with dignity for weeks,
sometimes, if not months.

- Thanks.
- Yeah.

- The nurses are brilliant
with this

because it flips
the power structure,

so you're at the feet of the
person you're trying to serve.

- These people are human
beings like you and me,

and they also have
fallen into bad times

and ended up being homeless.
What can we do to help them?

Can you please allow me to get
the blood pressure on your arm?

- You can try.
- Oh, thank you so much.

- Didn't work last time.
- Thank you.

- It's gonna be through
the roof

'cause I don't have
my medication.

- Oh.
- Yeah, yeah.

I'm done with this.

My blood pressure's high.
You can just tell every time.

It's always high.

I haven't had my meds
in a week.

- All right. Okay.
This is--this is really high.

- Yeah, it's nothing
to worry about.

It's been like that forever.

- What can I do? Just--
- Nothing.

You--there's nothing you can
do. What are you gonna do?

- I can call that doctor up
and--

- Yeah, what's that gonna
do?

- Make you an appointment
to see him

ASAP, as soon as possible.
- Who, Rothford?

- Yes.

- And what is that gonna do?

- He's gonna at least increase
your blood pressure medication.

- Yeah, if you wanna try,
you can try calling him.

- No, I will do it now.

- God bless you guys.
Awesome.

- Can you get him a appointment
with Dr. Rothford at Pine?

- You--did you...
[indistinct]

- Why?
Why, in America--

why would people
be still sleeping on the street?

What can we do to bring
all those people every night

on the street into a house

so they wouldn't experience
snow on them, rain,

even heat of the sun?

Some will come in,
and they look exhausted,

so I give them a glass
of water,

check their vital signs.

Some,
I will see medical issues.

I have to send them out
to the hospital,

so you treat people
with kindness.

We make them to open up,
and you will see more.

- Do you have gloves?
- No.

- You can earn people's trust
but be present.

Sometimes it happens
on the first day.

Sometimes it happens
after six months,

but the persistence and the
continuity is what really works,

and when you can do that,

then you can start
to deliver health care.

If you don't take the time
to do that, you can't.

- Skin looks good.
This hurt?

There's an aspect
of my comfort zone

that I've completely
demolished and expanded

just coming here,

working with feet.

At first, it was hard
to get used to,

and--and now, you know,

it's--it's just
an aspect of humans.

- Do you mind
if I take your vitals?

- Everyone in here who's
walking behind me,

they--this is their job,
and they're everywhere.

They are all over the country,
all over the world,

you know, helping people,

taking some small effort
to--to provide and try to,

you know, equal the playing
field in a unfair world.

- In one year, I've come
from absolutely nothing,

a stuttering mess downstairs--

with the help of the staff
and everybody else,

I've come out one complete year
to having my feet fixed,

my hip reta--replaced.
I got a smile, you know?

I got my headlights on now,
you know what I mean?

So I'm a complete new vehicle
thanks to this place,

and that's the reason
why I am where I am today.

- And thanks to yourself.
- Yeah, yeah, yeah.

- When I look at
the long vision,

my guess is those two months

invested in soaking
this man's feet,

which--for which we could
get no income,

probably saved the system
a few million dollars

down the line.

I have come to think
of homelessness--this is

my own little version of it,

is like if you held a prism
up to society, right,

what gets refracted are
the weaknesses in every sector,

in the education sector,
in the housing sector,

the health sector,
corrections, and justice.

We have to figure out
how to address the weaknesses

in all of those
societal sectors

if we're really gonna
address the problem.

- Go.

- Guys!
- Whoo-hoo!

- You don't have any air
in the tire.

- Yeah, it's been hard
to ride lately.

- Oh, my goodness. It's flat.
Look at that.

When you get a flat tire,
you need to stop by,

and--and
I'll pump it up for you.

- Okay.
- Okay?

- Thank you.
- Oh, of course.

This is something
that I love to do.

You wanna go--pump it up?
It's a little hard, isn't it?

- Mm-hmm, it's really hard.
[grunts]

- It feels different.
- Doesn't it, different?

Give it a shot. I'll bet
you're really gonna like it.

- Oh, ahh!
- How's that?

- Oh, my gosh,
look how easy it is!

[laughs]

Thank you, Steve.
- Oh, you're welcome.

- When children end up
in foster care,

they are often removed from
homes where there is neglect,

and their family safety net
is ripped to shreds.

Who is gonna be there
to catch you when you fall?

- Good morning.
- Good morning.

- Good morning.

- Ah, you're doing our hair
this morning?

- Good morning!

- I guess I do need to
practice for this, okay.

- Is this your presentation?
- Yes.

- Try and do it a little bit
from memory maybe.

- Okay. Jewelry played
a big part in Ancient Egypt.

If you were poor,

then you would wear beaded
necklaces and headbands.

If you were wealthy,
then you were...

- Kids need a rock.
They need that stability,

that one person in their life
that's immobile,

and that's me.

I am their refuge.
I am, you know,

all of those things that
give them a safe place to be.

You know, I have grown
children, grandchildren,

great-grandchildren.

To me, it was never
a matter of choice.

It's just what you do.
You pick 'em up,

and you go forward,
and you raise children.

- Brody, is this one yours?

'Cause I'll break the yolk
if it's yours.

- Yes, it is.
- You know,

I have a whole community
that loves my children,

and all that can do
is create great humans.

I love you.
Have a good day today.

Okay, have fun.

- Kay, who's gonna figure out
who sits in the front seat?

- I will!
- I will!

- I saw--I do that, Estelle.
- Okay.

- Children need to know
that they are beloved,

and elders need to know

that their lives still
have meaning and purpose.

- How about some water, guys?

- It's a place for fostered
and adopted people,

not just, like,

regular people that would live
in a regular house.

- We believe generations
coming together

makes a powerful safety net.

- As long as I feel like
I can help any of these children

in any way,
I really feel privileged,

and that's the main reason
I moved here.

- It means so much to me
to have a child

in my life who trusts me,

and when you see the love
for some of the elders,

it's very evident.

There we go.

- The children have always been
at ease here.

They've come from abuse,

and yet they came here
with open arms.

- You ended here,
or did you end here?

- Right here.

Every kid here has an elder
that they hang out with.

"Probably just a temper
tantrum," George says. "He re--"

- What's a temper tantrum?

- When someone gets mad
and is really upset.

- Everybody's family.

It's just the thing about
living here.

You can't live here
without everybody being family.

It's just how it goes.

I tell my friends I have,
like, 42 grandmas

and, like, eight grandpas.

- Just sit down here
and pretend to read.

Oh, look at that beautiful
picture, yeah.

All right, here's
a good place.

- Stun-ing.

- Yeah.
- Standing?

- Stunning.

Very good.
I am so proud of you.

Okay, let's go eat.

- Hi.

- There you are, honey.

- We're foster kids.
- Are you?

Are they clowning around?

- Yeah.
- We didn't have a book

'cause it was kind of
a spur-of-the-moment thing,

so we read a magazine
that was out there.

- Oh, yeah?
- Yeah.

- Magazines now, huh?
- Yeah.

- Wow.

- You can read about anything
you wanna read now.

You're doing so good.

- The teacher actually pulled me
aside yesterday and s--

- About him?
- Noticed improvements on both.

- Good.
- Yeah.

I'm a grandmother who adopted
four grandsons.

It still is today too good
to be true.

The connection, knowing,
that, you know,

you're not in it alone;
you're in it together.

- 2009--18.
- Yeah.

You're supposed to get...
[indistinct]

- You know, one thing
I did learn,

you don't have to be
blood-related to be related.

- Our purpose is to help
these children have abundant,

beautiful lives,

and thereby we will have
abundant, beautiful lives.

- We all have goals.

We all have places
that we wanna end up.

Working and going to school
all the time,

I was mentally
and physically exhausted.

I'm a hard worker.
I love my son.

I want to be a good mom.

It was Christmastime.

I couldn't buy my son
Christmas gifts.

I was working like crazy.

I go in to take
my biology final.

Every question, I'm like,
"I don't know.

I don't know.
I don't know."

You know, all these thoughts are
running through my head that,

"Oh, you're a failure,"
you know?

"Everything that you've done,
you've failed,

"and you failed with your--you
failed with your son.

"You failed with hairdressing.
You failed with waiting tables.

You failed at being
a provider for your son,"

but I was giving my all.

And so I really just wanted
to get in my car

and drive it off a cliff,

and that's exactly
what I wanted to do

because in my head
I'm sitting there thinking,

"You're--if this didn't work,
none of it's ever gonna work,

"and Kingston's gonna be
happier with my parents,

and he'll be taken care of,"

and--and I left that place

holding in as much as I could.

I knew I needed
to reach out for help.

I knew I needed to talk
to somebody

because I was afraid of what
I was gonna do to myself.

I had heard about the ARC
through a fellow student,

and she was a single
mother as well.

- Figure out a plan,
kinda talk about, like,

where you're at,
where you wanna be.

She came in, and she said,
"I need to talk to someone.

I don't know what to do."

- I poured my heart and soul
out in that--in that office.

- And I just got to know her
for who she is,

and she's amazing.
- Now we help...

- At the most vulnerable time
in my life,

when somebody could
have turned me away,

somebody could have judged me,
they encouraged me.

They hugged on me.
They loved on me.

They listened to everything
I had to say.

- I just explained to her
what we could provide in here.

- I had no idea that they would
help me with my bills.

- The services that we had,
the resources that we had...

- They cared about me enough
to invest in me.

And that's...
[sniffles]

- The number of students
that utilize that service

is overwhelming to me.

We have all of these services,

but none of those
services individually

are designed
to eradicate poverty,

but if we as a college
can glue them together

in a way that allows Alicia
to stay in school and graduate

with a degree and matriculate
into a living-wage job,

then she doesn't need
those services anymore.

We solved her problem
long-term

by fixing the barriers
that she faces short-term,

and it's taken every part
of the community

to make that happen.

- What we really need
is community,

and that's wellbeing.
That's resilience.

That's--that's the joy of it
all

'cause if I can
dance with you,

if I can laugh with you,
you trust me,

and if you trust me,

you're gonna come see me
when things are hard.

- Community is where hope
is going to be found.

- The biggest need for us
is we need each other,

and when we say that, we're not
just talking about people

within 3 feet around us,
but we start there.

We have to take time
to have each other experience

what it means to be a neighbor
to each other.

[upbeat music]

♪ ♪

I'll see you later, babe.
Yep.

Geneva, you--you in charge

of the big shop part,
the workshop part.

- What about me?
- And sales, y'all too. Okay?

But--but for you,
you gotta listen to her.

What's going on, man?

It's already--you tried
to beat that sun, didn't you?

- Yeah, I did.

- What's your mother
really good at?

- She takes care of us
and teaching us.

- Teaching, that's right.
What type of things she teach?

- She teach us, like,

how to--how to be nice
to each other.

- That's right.
What about you?

- My mom, she good at cooking
for me,

for my family,

and I like how
she feed me--well--

and--I like how she feed me

and she give me clothes to wear

and a shower and a roof.

- And a roof.
- And that's all.

And I like how my mom is good
at teaching me

how to be a better person,
you know, good.

- Ready, set, go!

Knock on the door.
Hello?

Last year,
we started a bike shop...

All right.
Biker Boyz and Girlz Club.

No--yeah, you take that one
over there.

You take it.
Let me help you.

Line 'em up straight,
in a straight line.

We noticed how many people
running up

and down Harding Street,

and most of 'em
under the age of 15.

- This one's big.
- That's how we started it.

We asked them if they would be
our business partners.

This gonna be the retail area.

Everything--where the thing
would be, the soft.

I think my role is to
figure out

how to discover
people's gifts and talents...

- Well, I said, off of here

so they can actually see
what's going on in here.

- That's right.
Seeing and celebrating

what's in front of us.

- Oh, I must ha--
- Why am I--

- Nia, can you touch this?
Hey.

- We got a hole in it,
so we need to patch it.

- Who got the broom?

Who gonna sweep?
Who wanna try that?

- Me.
- Me.

- All right.

The chief of police came down
at one point and said, "Hey,

I'd like to invest in this,
and I got some bikes."

- Nice to meet you.

- So rather
than selling them,

we created an agreement.
with a nonprofit...

- That is so wonderful.

- We have to provide
opportunities

and support those people
that--that are doing the work,

quite frankly.

- Flat tire, flat tire.
- Oh, we gotta get 'em off.

- Yeah.

- We've had people come up
and was like, you know,

"I really need to get
a--borrow a bike

to get to a job interview,"

or something like that,
and a lot of times we'll--

we'll go loan them a bike
so that they can go do that.

- Historically, this has been--
this has been a rough area,

both to grow up in
and to police,

and it's--it's things like this

that I think can help alter
that a little bit.

- If you listen to the news,

you'll hear
the 46208 neighborhood

as a place for treacherous
things or things that are wrong,

but to me it's a neighborhood
where people love each other.

It's a place where people
share,

and most of that
is about community.

- Ahh!

- Yeah, y'all probably gonna
have a lot of people here today.

- Yeah, we let you all through
and have a seat.

- Yeah, y'all... [indistinct]
- Go ahead and have a seat.

Y'all good.

- Stories and people

sharing their stories

is a philanthropic act.
Y'all have any questions?

When you sit on the porch and
someone becomes vulnerable...

- I don't have
a driver's license.

I'm 27, and I've never had one.

- My permit was suspended
when I was 16,

so I ain't never had a license.

- I brought some folks from
the Indiana Legal Service

for my friend
IU law school.

I'm trying to make
this as less hoops as possible.

What I'm committing is trying
to get 60 people

they driver's license back from
and around this neighborhood

or at large
that are people of color.

Let us not forget that being
African American in this country

meant you were treated
cruel at some point,

and a couple of things.
We can live in sorrow of that

because those scars of my
grandparents have affected me,

and they affect people
in my neighborhood.

But for me, what I'm looking for
is healing.

And how to utilize his gifts
and his power.

- [indistinct] says it best.
There are assets.

We just gotta tap
into the assets and understand

that they don't look like me.
They don't look like you,

and we just need
to be able to embrace them

because once you do that,
there's hope and healing

within the body
of the community.

- What listening does, it builds
the first piece of capital

that we all need as humans.
It's trust.

But to have they power
shined on, right?

In honor, right?

These people have power.
These are my neighbors.

[applause]

And I learned
a couple of lessons,

the power of being a neighbor

and the power of shutting up
and listening.

[laughter]

On these little journeys,
the young people learn

also the practice of stopping

and treating your neighbors
with dignity.

They know what it means
to be treated

in a way that is not dignified,

but they also understand how
to treat people with dignity.

- Welcome to McDonald's.
How can I take your order?

- We don't sell hot sauce
here, ma'am.

- I want to continue
discovering the gifts

and talents of everybody
in the life of our community,

find a place for they gift,

and celebrate their gifts

in ways that build community,
economy,

and mutual delight.

Five and five.

We just want you
to pay attention.

You keep this in your pocket.
You understand?

They know that little corner
house on Harding and Edgemont,

where that bike shop is,
is more than a bike shop.

Do you think I'm professional?

both: Yeah.
- [laughs]

I la--that's funny.
Thank you.

That's a compliment.

That's the most
honorable compliment

I'll probably get today.

I want to be a witness,
not just in my zip code,

but I want me and my neighbors
all over the world

to be a witness
to the power of love.

Y'all wanna make
the bike shop here?

- I don't know about that.

- I've been thinking about
buying this

for the bike shop
and fixing it up.

- I don't even know her name.

- Do you know her name?
If we can fix this up,

we can have an office and then
where you fix the bikes.

- [speaks indistinctly]

- Putting time and practice
into family,

love,
being a good neighbor,

that's really what counts
for all of us.

[poignant music]

♪ ♪

[bird chirps]

- Food order, first thing
in the morning.

Yay!
Thank you.

- I thought we transported it
home.

- Yep.

- Why you hiding that one?

You didn't want nobody
to see it?

You messed up?
You messed that one up?

- That's just--
- You tried to hide it?

Don't hide your mistakes.

- No.
- It's okay.

- Hey, Melissa.
- Yeah.

June is usually
summertime, right?

- Yes, it is.

- Let's cut around here.
- Yeah.

- About that size, about a foot,

and then we're gonna
strip this.

- You're ready for
the Tour de Hurleyville.

- I'm joining the crew here.

- Okay, follow me. This way.
- Come on, Johnny boy!

- Here I come!
- I know it.

You're hot
on my tail there, buddy.

Ah, feel the breeze.

- In the past, when a child
with a significant disability

was born, neurologists
and physicians

would be the first to say

that your family
would be better off,

place the person
in an institution,

basically, warehouse folks
with disabilities.

And they were pretty
rough places.

Oh, my God,
look at that tree, John.

- It is magical, yes.

It's like
going back through time.

- In 1980 it was the time
in New York state

where we were under sanction
by the federal government

to close major institutions,
and this movement started.

- Good morning.

- Good morning.
How are you?

- Good.
- Good. Welcome back to school.

- The spirit here
is revolutionary.

We'll take the most
complicated people,

and we'll figure out
how to care for them.

- Even if you have
multiple disabilities

and you have struggles,
you can still learn.

There are different ways
to adapt the environment,

adapt lessons,
adapt everything, really,

to help somebody
be more successful.

- Gotta get samples.
- You have to remember

that these folks
were placed in the '40s,

'50s, and '60s
and functionally abandoned.

They still hold on to decades
and centuries of judgment,

Older gents and women
who lived there for 55 years

and who were probably
typically normal intelligence

but had a physical disability,

They were in a terribly ugly
environment for the most part.

- We're evolving as a
community, as a country.

The inclusiveness
of this population,

years ago, you didn't know
that they existed.

- Hi.
- Good morning.

The residents are essential
in helping us pack out

for things like that,

and it's really like
a team effort.

- We're outside of a clinic.

We're outside
of a four-wall normal situation.

- So what are we doing today?
- Washing lettuce.

- You got it.
You got it. Okay.

- The perfect day on the farm
is all of the staff

standing back and watching
while the residents do the job.

Now, we like to work
together too,

but that ability to do that,
like, that's something

that they taught me,
is that is possible.

- This is called
Maximilian sunflower.

- Maximilian sunflower?

- You got it, girl.
- Yeah.

- What can you do
with these raw materials?

What's your favorite color?

- Red.

- You get a bunch of
skilled people together

who can make magic out of
things in all capacities,

infrastructure,
education, therapy,

all these things coming
together in a real symphony

looks pretty good.
It's working.

- You want the longer one?
- Yeah.

- The fire company is a hub
of the community.

It's the brotherhood
and sisterhood of the town,

and it brings everybody together
in a time of need

and a time of joy as well.

- Good job, Tommy.

- I thought it was really funny

how I was making
the water dance.

That's what I did to myself.
I got myself wet.

- Thank you, my dear.
This is cool.

They're compostable.

[laughter]

- You know my board president,
you know, Ed Sweeney?

- I think so.

- He may approach you to join
the agency board of directors.

You'll have to decide
if you want to do it or not.

It's a lot of work.

- Have you had practice
for about eight weeks?

Holy cow.

Is there a certain dance
you like better than others?

- The tango.
- The tango?

You like the tango?

[soft string music]

♪ ♪

- I love this town.

I love seeing Jeffrey
in his wheelchair

coming down the street.
I love going to the market

and seeing Brian
working at the market.

I love seeing them
going to the barbershop.

If everywhere were to feel how
we feel in this little town

that we're in, it'd be great.

- Ah, ah.
Ah.

- Ah.

- It's only been 40 years

that they've come
from the dark ages,

and I fear they could go back

if we don't get a handle
on some of this stuff.

The single most important
thing to do for us

all living on this planet,

it's being empathetic,
caring for your fellow man.

If you have that
in your arsenal,

you can do
just about everything.

- Come on in, boys.

Good morning, ladies.

Come on.
Come on.

- Sorry.
- Okay. It's okay.

All right, ladies and gentlemen,

this first quote
comes from the religion

Judaism, the Talmud,
Shabbat 31a, and the quote says,

"What is hateful to you,
do not do to your fellow men."

If you find it hateful,
whether it's the way

someone talks to you,
looks at you,

treats you differently,
whatever it is,

if you find it hateful--so
you can make,

in your own head silently,
a list of all the hateful things

that people could--the way
they could treat you.

Now take that list, and don't
treat other people that way.

It's pretty simple.

Most world religions have
some version of the Golden Rule,

and they all basically
are saying the same thing.

It's all about
how we treat each other.

All right,
so underneath the quote,

what you're going to do--and
this is part of the warm-up.

I want you to tell me
about a time

where somebody treated you
in a hateful way

or--you treated them
or they treated you,

so you can be on either side
of this hateful treatment.

After that,
how did that make you feel?

- There had been an incident
at Downey High School

where a student
had been bullied,

and we really felt that if all
students had this information,

that it just might influence
their attitudes

about someone who was different
from them within our community.

- Having the world religions
class is a natural extension

of talking about the diversity
of our nation.

In the United States,

our differences
are not a weakness.

They're a strength,

but how can
we teach about religion

in a public school setting?

We brought in
the First Amendment Center

to do a lot of training
with our teachers.

We had representatives
from all of our different

religious traditions
in the community to come in

and take a look
at the course outline

and then come back to us
to give us feedback.

- Every day, we treat people
in a way

that we would not ourselves
wanna be treated.

- One of our major concerns

when we developed
the world religions

course was the controversy

that--making
a graduation requirement

that all students would be
required to take the class.

- That we felt that it was
important enough

that every student in Modesto

have an understanding
of the different traditions

that make up our community.

- We hope to reach
enough students

that they're going to have
a second thought

about saying something
that's inappropriate

about someone else
based on their faith,

based on their race,
based on their gender.

- Today, in their lives
right now,

they will come across people

of other faiths, at the mall,
in their classroom,

or the parents
of fellow students

who practice all of these
different faiths,

and the more they know
about each other,

the easier it's gonna be
to get along

and be compassionate
with each other.

Underneath the word "respect,"

you're going to copy
the definition,

"honoring the worth and value
of individuals and institutions

and treating them accordingly."

Does it say you have
to agree with them?

- No.

- Does it say you have
to like them?

Nope. Treat other people
with respect regardless

of how they treat you.

Maybe they will pull
themselves up to your level

rather than you
going down to theirs.

- Treat people with dignity.
Believe what they say.

Every single person
deserves to be celebrated,

every single person.

- We all have fear of things
we do not understand,

and I think sometimes what
we perceive in a community

to be unwelcoming
is really fear,

fear of "Is this gonna change
who we are?

Is this gonna change our
values?"

That's where that comes from.

- The hate that exists
in this country

could be our destruction,
or it could be our clarion call.

- But I think it does take

someone in leadership to say,

"We are going to build bridges."

- I wanna live in a country

that is a genuinely
egalitarian democracy.

Who is it who is willing to risk
something on behalf of people

who others hate?

How do you develop more
solidarity with the oppressed?

- Galatians 1,
starting with verse 15,

"He is the image
of the invisible God,

"the firstborn of all creation,

"for in him all things in heaven

and on earth were created."

This is the word of the Lord.

all: Thanks be to God.

[birds chirping]

- I remember
some of my critics said,

"Wow, who are you to set aside
2,000 years of tradition?"

The only possible answer
I could give was,

"I am attempting to exercise

my vocation
as a Christian ethicist."

What happened was vicious
attacks on social media

and in reviews,
lost friendships.

"You're no longer
a good Christian.

I can't be your friend
anymore."

It helps to remember
that by 2014 when I wrote

"Changing Our Mind,"

I was the coauthor
of the leading textbook

in Christian ethics
in the evangelical world.

I had taught thousands
of students,

but I had been blinded

to the harm
that traditional teaching does.

I had repeated
the Christian party line

that God made human beings,
male and female,

for heterosexual
relationships only,

and everything else is sin.

My mother-in-law, Lynnie,
is a Baptist of long standing,

and so I--I get her
to church on Sunday morning,

and she's in the class.

She's the oldest in the class,
but she's not

the only 80-something person
in the class.

- Morning.
- Morning.

Have you ever been
in a Sunday school class

that has this kind
of diversity in it, Mom?

- No.
[laughs]

The class that I belong to,
we're all elderly white women.

- Mm-hmm.

- So a breath of fresh air.

A new day has dawned
in the world

if this class can exist
and do what it's doing.

- I have an incredible amount
of respect for David Gushee.

He was the champion

of the Southern Baptist
evangelicals.

- How are you?
- I'm good. I'm good.

- If you've been to a Baptist
seminary in the last 25,

30 years,
you've read his books.

This world-renowned theologian
and ethicist,

he's now an outcast.

- We're in Job 9 today.

Job, at this point,
by chapter nine,

feels like God has put him
on trial, you might say,

but God is both the adversary,
and God is also the judge,

and so Job feels overwhelmed by
the unfairness of the situation.

- And powerless.
- He's totally powerless.

Verse four through ten.

- "He is wise in heart
and mighty in strength.

Who alone stretched out
the heavens and..."

- The question of which Bible
passages are most relevant

to whatever it is
you're thinking about

is itself
a matter of interpretation.

- "Who will say to him..."
- I have met people

whose children are dead

because they committed suicide
because somebody told them

that they were wretched sinners
going to hell,

and they got that
from bible passages.

And this line, where it ends,

"I know that I am not
what I am thought to be."

There are people who have been
told

that God condemns you,

that you are not okay,
that you are guilty before God.

- Well, I resonate
with the story,

but I was thinking about
my own personal journey.

Job did this all by himself,
I feel like,

and once I, like, came out,

that kinda changed
everything for me,

and it gave me a support system

and more people to walk with me
on the journey.

And I feel like
he was very isolated still,

and so for him to be that brave
is real inspiring.

- So I think of suicidality
of LGBTQ young people, right?

There's nowhere to go.

"I'm boxed in,
condemned for being who I am,

"no escape from who I am,
but you made me how I am,

and now you judge me
for how you made me."

How is that fair?

Can we stand up and hold hands
and have a prayer?

There are maybe six
to eight passages in the Bible

that appear to address
same-sex sex,

and they're all negative.

Dear Lord...

you are healing us
through this direct

and honest encounter
with scripture,

with church at its best
but also church at its worst.

I realized that
the traditional rendering

of the traditional verses
that were cited was actually

like a weapon
of spiritual destruction.

- There have been times
in our lives

when we didn't feel safe,

rejected by family,

being dis--literally disowned
by family.

When I came out, my father,
Baptist minister,

on his deathbed, his words were,
"I have no son named Theron."

- Which commandment says
to hate people, you know?

Which one says to shut them out
for being themselves

and not hurting anyone?

- Oh, yeah.
- Here it is.

- That was--okay, for context--
"So I am a boy."

- "A super-duper-duper--"
- A super-duper.

"For sure cool."

- My handwriting's
never been good.

I was hospitalized
in September of 2016

over my gap year
for a suicide attempt,

and I was in the hospital
for a while,

and my church was so good to me.

- To go into
to Sunday school and go,

"Oh, gosh, you know,
Jamie's a guy,

and what do we do with that,
and how do we support that?"

- For us to have a safe place
as parents to say,

"Of course we wanna
be supportive.

"Of course we believe in
our kid,

but holy cow,
this is hard stuff."

- I was raised in the mountains
of North Georgia,

and I had never heard
the word gay or lesbian.

The people that are in
this church

have helped me
to be a better person.

- I grew up in South Georgia,
a small town.

I had never seen a gay
in my life.

- Mm-hmm.
- There's been a lot of change,

and I've had to
wrestle with that.

- Mm-hmm.
- When I was a little girl,

there were no women ministers,
no women deacons,

nobody of a different race

or a different cultural
background in this church.

- Moving through
the Old Testament,

there is this ongoing,
resonating sense

that there's something hopeful
about what lies ahead.

We are learners
on this journey together.

- If the way you're
reading the Bible

brings hate of neighbor,

it negates the central
command of Jesus.

The role of the Christian
community and its leaders

especially is to help
the people interpret the Bible

in a way that gives life
rather than takes it.

- People are now feeling
what they felt as a child

and that they do have
a place of belonging.

When I walked through
the doors of this church

the first time,

and we were holding hands,
the minister said,

"Welcome, friends."

It had been a long time
since church felt like home.

- If you would all stand.

If you agree to support
this couple,

say "we do" when I tell you
it's time to say "we do."

Do you promise not to leave them
alone to struggle on their own

but instead to undertake
life's journey alongside them?

all: We do.

[cheers and applause]

- In practice, this church
has become fully inclusive

in every way that mattered.

Openness in Baptist churches
is often measured

by when those barriers
begin to drop.

- He didn't even know about
Thursday night.

- My kids saw people
who loved each other,

and I think because
of that love and support,

Jamie was able
to find his voice.

- God love you.

- If you think about it from,

"I have no son named Theron,"

symbolizing the most hateful
of rejections

and the most--the most vicious
because it's parent-child

to "I have a son named Jamie,"
that's quite a journey.

- Mm-hmm.
- Yeah.

[uplifting music]

♪ ♪

- There is no higher purpose
than being kind.

It's just that middle path
that we have to follow.

- You see somebody in need.

Do your very best to help them
as much as you can.

[school bell rings]

- We're gonna be studying.
We're going to be reviewing.

We're gonna be preparing
for the big test

in three days, all right?
Here we go.

Which clause
in the First Amendment

guarantees each person's right
to practice their religion?

First one standing,
second one standing.

Okay, Diego's
first one standing.

Diego gets two.
He's group five.

- Okay.
- What is the Torah?

- It's like,
a--multiple stories,

like, almost like a Bible,
but it's, like, in--in Judaism.

- What city is considered to be
the holy city of Judaism?

Is it Mecca, Paris, Jerusalem,
or Cairo? Diego?

- Jerusalem's considered
the holy land of Judaism

because it was the land

gifted to Abraham
and his people by God.

- Excellent.
Thank you very much.

Have a seat.
The many thousands of gods

in Hinduism
are simply reflections of whom?

Tell me a little bit
more about Brahman.

- Brahman is viewed
as many different things,

but in Hinduism it literally
is only one thing.

- What is the goal
of the Eightfold Path?

- To reach nirvana.

- Exactly.
- Samsari is the circle of life.

- The most sacred of the Vedas
is, like, the Rigveda.

- Anything about Martin Luther.

- He put the notes
on the church door.

- Diwali is the festival
of light.

- Yes. Guru Nanak was
the founder of what religion?

Sikhism, Islam--
he's trying to write--

- Guru Nanak went into
the forest for a few days,

and when he came out, he said,
"God does not care what religion

you choose as long
as you're kind to others."

- Diego, I'm telling you,
what did you eat for breakfast?

Okay, have a seat.

What I'd like to know
is what's the essence

of what you're learning here
that you will really,

really remember
and use--hold on--and use

as you go out there
into the world?

- Everything we did learn
just came up to one idea,

which is respect.

You need to respect everyone
even if you don't understand

what they--what
their religion is.

You still have to respect them
because they are human.

- Despite our races,
our religions,

we are all human beings,
aren't we?

- And all the religions really
lead up to,

like,
the main point is kindness.

- It doesn't matter
who the person is.

It's to treat them
with kindness.

- I want people to look
past their religions.

I want people to look past
their differences.

I wanna make a change,

and I want our
generation of teenagers

to be at least
a good aspect of that change.

- I know that other people

don't believe
what I believe in,

and there's other beliefs.

I have no right to judge or
shame others for their beliefs.

- This was
some interesting stuff.

Like, I never knew

what Buddhists
and Hindus had in common.

- The more I learned about
different religions,

the more I realized, like,

how they're
just--they're all connected.

- The values that the different
people in the religions have,

they all--they teach really,
like--like,

it increases integrity within
a person as an individual.

- This type of class required
would probably

be an amazing thing
when you think about it.

Like, it might not even
just stop in America.

It might even go all around,

and that could really help
some really bad situations

in a lot of places,
when you really think about it.

- Yeah.
- I grew up being a Christian,

and when I seen, like, Muslims
or Jews, like, walking around,

I would just--they
dress different.

Sometimes you look at them,
and you think,

like, "They're so weird,"

and I would kinda just make
fun of them with my friends,

and now I--I can't
imagine myself doing that

because, like,
that is their religion,

and that's just horrible.

Like, I just can't believe
I would make fun of, like,

people for their religion.

It's just horrible.

[instrumental music playing]

♪ ♪

- You've got this.

- You got it, girl.
You got it.

♪ ♪

[cheers and applause]

- Good evening.

On behalf
of the board of regents,

the faculty, staff, and students
of Amarillo College,

it is my sincere pleasure
to welcome you

to this fall's
commencement ceremony.

[cheers and applause]

Tonight's speaker
is quite special.

I think I saw her potential
even before she did,

and it's my privilege
to ask Alicia to come forward.

[cheers and applause]
- Congratulations.

- Thank you.
Thank you, Russell.

- Enjoy this, okay?

- Okay.
Thank you.

Well, hello. We made it.

Good job, guys.
Awesome.

I could have never
made it this far

without the help of other people

and without the help
of all of you guys.

Three years ago,

I had no idea what I wanted
to do with my life.

All I knew is that
I did not wanna be

in the financial struggle
that I was constantly in.

I wanted to provide
a better life for my son,

and I knew that I was gonna
have to fight...

- Whoo!

- And fight harder
than I've ever fought before.

It's a unique thing
to be human,

to form compassion

and understanding
the needs of others,

but it's a even extraordinary
thing that we understand it

enough to know
what we help one another,

and we give it
without even knowing.

- Looks good.

There you go.
There you go.

Good job.
You did it.

- I get the--let me
get the door.

- I have a present for you.

[vacuum whirring]
- Oh.

- Refugees are in every town,
in every community,

in every state.

They're part of who we are.

- It's harder.
- Okay, yeah.

- Good.
- Good.

Good.

- They need Anchorage
to show up.

They need Alaska to show up.

They need the citizens
of the United States of America

to show up.

- Thank you.
- When I came to Alaska,

I didn't have any rights.

People were genuinely kind,
and it's not like Russia

was the best friend
of the United States.

- [indistinct]

Kindness comes from heart,

so as I met different people

that did something good to me,

it's just because they are kind
from the heart,

not from what they have,
not from where they're from.

I can say kindness

is just from heart.

- Hi.
- Hi.

- Hi.

[laughter]

- We have a choice.

Am I an individual
solely choosing

what I as an individual need,
want, and can excel from?

Or am I looking at
my community and saying,

"What do I think
my community needs?"

Okay!
If I can get your attention.

Sorry.

I will let the clients
introduce themselves,

their names,
where they're from,

and how long
they've been here in Alaska.

Rahaba, you wanna start?

- My name is Rahaba Masita.
I'm from Congo.

I've been here,
Anchorage, Alaska two years.

- My name is Faraha.

I'm from Congo;
Alaska two minutes.

[laughter, applause]

- Hi. My name is Hope Gisanna,

born from Congo,

so I'm here almost six months.

First of all, I want
to appreciate

to come to work together.

You guys, you know,
our country, how it is,

every time there is war,
people die in time.

Thank you so much to say
that you are supporting us.

Some, we don't have parents.

There is a problem of raping,

guards raping women,
killing people everywhere,

so please keep working
with our organization.

Keep working with everyone
to see

that we can have a peace
in this world.

Yeah, thank you so much.

[applause]

- Hello.
My name is Ndayikunda Hambifura.

As I said, I'm from Congo.
This is my brother Isaac

and my sister Florence
and my sister Denise,

and she's my mom.
We are going to sing a song.

[soft guitar music plays]

♪ ♪

[all singing in native language]

[warm music]

♪ ♪

- Oh!
- Oh.

[all speaking native language]

- Nobody made it here alone.

We have all extended
that helping hand

because we knew
exactly how hard it was.

Stand if you have ever gone
to a study session

and you or someone brought food.

Stand if you have ever lent
or borrowed a textbook.

Stand if you have ever
helped tutor a student

that needed help with a class,

and lastly, stand if you helped
a fellow student out

with encouragement, direction,
accountability, or even love.

You see?

I'm standing up here today
because of you.

We all are here today because
we all helped each other.

- I'm convinced it's that
kindness that we all share

that brings out the best
in all of us,

and that's when we feel best
about who we are.

- We are all humans kind of
stumbling through life,

trying to figure out our place,

so I think treating people
with kindness

means understanding that,

expressed through patience
and caring.

- If every one of us chip in
in our own different ways

to do something,
no matter how small,

I think we will have
a better community

and a better country.

- What can you share with
the rest of the world?

We need to value what's present
and what's good in people.

- We must agree there are
certain basic human rights

that we must all protect
no matter what.

- We need to be kind,
respectful,

and responsible within society
to live in a civil democracy.

- We all are immigrants
and refugees from other places

creating a country
that has a vision.

- There is love
across this country

that happens every day.

It's not about ignoring

those destructive elements
of our society.

It's deciding that my attention
is gonna go to the good.

- I think it's the glue
that holds us together,

I guess you could say,

and I think it's just
really important

because without kindness,
we'd all be maniacs.

[gentle piano music]

♪ ♪

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