Acclaimed Documentary Gaining Ground: The Fight for Black Land Becomes Capstone Event for 2024 Illinois Black Farmers’ Week at the Reva and David Logan Center at the University of Chicago



Acclaimed Documentary Gaining Ground: The Fight for Black Land Becomes Capstone Event for 2024 Illinois Black Farmers’ Week at the Reva and David Logan Center at the University of Chicago

 

CHICAGO (March 30, 2024) - The (In)Justice for All Film Festival International, in partnership with Faith in Place, presents a screening of the acclaimed documentary Gaining Ground: The Fight for Black Land which is framed with resource sharing, advocacy engagement, policy updates, and is a celebration of the history and contributions of Illinois Black farmers. The screening takes place on Saturday, April 6, 2024, at the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts, 915 East 60th Street, Chicago.

This free event kicks off at 5:00 p.m. with a reception, networking, and resource sharing. The screening of Gaining Ground: The Fight for Black Land will be at 6:00 p.m., followed by a panel conversation moderated by media producer and Creative Cypher founder Troy Pryor. The film’s Emmy-nominated director and executive producer Eternal Polk will be joined by a distinguished panel including Illinois State Representative Sonya Harper and others.

Gaining Ground: The Fight for Black Land grew out of a collaboration between Deere & Company and Al Roker Entertainment to focus on the legacy of Black farming in America and the devastating impact of heirs’ property – property passed to family members by inheritance, usually without a will or proper estate planning. Without a clear title, Black farmers are unable to qualify for government assistance, equipment financing, or agricultural programs designed to optimize their land. In 2020, John Deere created the LEAP Coalition in partnership with the National Black Growers Council and the Thurgood Marshall College Fund to provide resources for farmers and landowners to resolve heirs’ property issues.

“This film serves as an important platform for Black farmers which delves into their history while also discussing impactful ways to sustain agriculture and places to go for help with legislation and available grants,” said Al Roker, executive producer. “The organizations featured in the film are creating change and it’s one of the reasons our company was so interested in getting involved with this important work.”

Created in partnership with Emmy-nominated director Eternal Polk, Gaining Ground addresses how landowners are reclaiming their agricultural rights and their paths to generational wealth. “Documentaries can offer a lens into history and shed light on a forgotten or untold story. It's more than just a form of storytelling, it's a way to offer new viewpoints on an issue, create lasting dialogue, and drive change,” says Polk.

Black land ownership peaked in 1910 at 16 to 19 million acres, which was about 14 percent of total arable land in the United States. A century later, 90 percent of Black owned land has been lost, and heirs' property has been the leading cause for that decline. The documentary shines a spotlight on

the challenges Black farmers must navigate to preserve their land for future generations. The film additionally highlights subject matter experts and practitioners who are actively working to address these issues.

About the (In)Justice for All Film Festival International

For a decade, the (In)Justice for All Film Festival International (IFAFF International), a program of Trinity United Church of Christ, has curated an array of films that speak to the issues of our time – the over incarceration epidemic, immigration, police abuse, domestic abuse, human trafficking, systemic racism, and more. Learn more at www.injusticeforallff.com.


About Faith in Place 

A 501(c)3 nonprofit organization working to empower people of diverse faiths and spiritualities to be leaders in advancing environmental and racial justice—providing resources to educate, connect and advocate for healthier communities across Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin. Faith in Place is the proud Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin affiliate of Interfaith Power & Light. Learn more at www.faithinplace.org.

 

About Al Roker Entertainment

Formed in 1994, Al Roker Entertainment (ARE) is an industry-leading producer of original, award-winning TV programs and digital content. Led by 14-time Emmy winning TV personality and trusted media authority Al Roker, ARE partners with a creative consortium of producers, directors, writers, agencies, and talent to ideate, produce, activate, and amplify original content globally, using a variety of broadcast, cable, OTT, social, and streaming platforms. ARE works with brands, non-profits, ad agencies, and PR companies to generate and inspire audiences through social impact branded entertainment storytelling. Learn more at https://alrokerentertainment.com/

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