COEXIST: Bridge the Gap 'Tween US & THEM
January 25, 2014•57 min
COEXIST is a documentary film making an impact on young people's lives. "Coexist is a thought-provoking and compelling film that resonates profoundly with anyone who views it. It underscores the sheer complexity of the Rwandan genocide and subsequent efforts at reconciliation, and provides a deeper examination of hatred and forgiveness." - Connecticut Teacher of the Year (2012), David Bosso This Boston-based educational documentary film project, "Coexist: Bridging the Divide Between Us and Them," aims to teach students about genocide to increase their awareness of "othering," which can range from pushing and teasing to bullying and hate crimes. Educating our children is the best way to create awareness, tolerance and ultimately end violence in communities. "Coexist" has been featured in film festivals, conferences, schools, and universities around the world following its world premiere in Boston, and has been selected by American Public Television for distribution to public television stations across the country, extending its reach to more than 100 million viewers. This week we will be interviewing the director of this critical and significant film, Adam Mazo who has drawn parallels between the events in Rwanda and attacks by school bullies, suggesting peer pressure can push nonviolent people to commit violent acts, whether it’s throwing someone’s backpack in the trash or committing more extreme acts such as genocide. A reflection about bullying is a productive way for us to understand violence in communities. We cannot pretend that we don't relate. If anything, practicing extreme tolerance helps us to understand why bullying occurs, and what we can do to prevent it. It's not always as simple as a deep rooted lack of self esteem that motivates one group to dominate over another. In the case of Rwanda, and how it mirrors events on our playgrounds, often those who bully are protecting themselves from the wrath of the group by pledging loyalty. This is a also a mob mentality: bully or be bullied. We've discussed peer pressure and bullying in the past, but never from this angle. A passionate subject for me, as I was just "cyber-bullied" not too long ago, I am pleased to be able to recognize Adam's great work and do my part to pass this important message forward.