WILL releases Delta documentary

Emma Loewenstein, Writer

Part One of Uni High/WILL’s documentary, Rebuilding Foundations: Housing and Hope in the Mississippi Delta, was released on January 30, 2018. The link to the 60-minute documentary is: https://will.illinois.edu/illinoisyouthmedia/rebuildingfoundations. The official hashtag for the project is #unihighdeltadoc, said project leader and Uni High senior Stella Faux.

“It’s definitely a very close to home sort of story, but it’s also really fascinating historically and it speaks to a lot of problems that students at Uni are very passionate about,” said Faux.

The project highlights the connection between East-Central Illinois and Mississippi Delta communities as initiated by Habitat for Humanity, emailed Janet Morford, project coordinator and former Uni History teacher. Morford wrote that Part One of the documentary delves into “the history of racialized economic exploitation and oppression in the Delta, and the need for decent, affordable housing,” as well as the establishment of Habitat for Humanity and early C-U involvement in the program.

Uni WILL interns from Classes 2016 – 2019 and the class of 2020 have conducted and transcribed “almost 40 interviews,” wrote Morford. Interviewees include Habitat staff and homeowners, Uni alumni, teachers and parents who have been chaperones on the Habitat Trip, and more. The project emphasizes the “mutual benefits of [the] long partnership” between volunteers from Illinois and people living in the Delta, wrote Morford. It also serves as a tribute to Bill Sutton, former Uni History teacher with a close connection to the Delta community, and “his impact on many other young people in search of meaningful lives.”

Morford wrote that Part Two (release date TBD) will cover Griot Arts and Spring Initiative, youth programs established in Coahoma County, as well as more information about the involvement and impact of “young people from Illinois” on the Delta community.