Take Action Around 'Getting Back to Abnormal'
- Find groups that are continuing to aid in Katrina recovery efforts, especially in terms of working with low-income people who were displaced. Ask what you can do to help.
- Examine the relationship between the demographics of your community and the composition of elected and appointed officials in your city. Present your findings at a town hall to discuss issues of representation. Which groups are well represented and which groups are left out? Invite historians to speak about the relationship between historical discrimination and current politics.
- Investigate the rules governing residents in public housing where you live. Interview residents about their views of the rules, including any changes they would recommend. Work together to divide prospective changes into two categories: those that can be implemented directly by residents, and those that require government or agency action. Assist residents in implementing ideas from the first list and arrange to present the second list to elected officials and housing agency staff. If structures aren't already in place to involve residents in future rule making, work to implement more cooperative and inclusive rule-making procedures.
- In the film, former city councilmember Oliver Thomas jokes, "We got a festival for everything but eliminating poverty." Create a festival for eliminating poverty.
Get informed about the issues in the film and lead a discussion in your community.
This guide is an invitation to dialogue. It is based on a belief in the power of human connection, designed for people who want to use this documentary to engage family, friends, classmates, colleagues and communities. In contrast to initiatives that foster debates in which participants try to convince others that they are right, this document envisions conversations undertaken in a spirit of openness in which people try to understand one another and expand their thinking by sharing viewpoints and listening actively. The discussion prompts are intentionally crafted to help a wide range of audiences think more deeply about the issues in the film. Rather than attempting to address them all, choose one or two that best meet your needs and interests. And be sure to leave time to consider taking action. Planning next steps can help people leave the room feeling energized and optimistic, even in instances when conversations have been difficult.
In this lesson, students will practice listening, research and discussion skills as they analyze American race relations and issues of political representation. The investigation will use a recent New Orleans City Council election as a case study.
This list of fiction and nonfiction books, compiled by Brandy Sanchez of Daniel Boone Regional Library, provides a range of perspectives on the issues raised by the POV documentary Getting Back to Abnormal.