BENEFITING: NEW LEGENDS
DONATIONS NOW TAX DEDUCTIBLE. We appreciate all support.
Executive Producers: Sarah Barasch-Hagans & Emmett Williams
Advisory Committee: Koach Baruch Frazier & Nicole Rainey
For more info and to watch all the films: www.fargesn.com
The Fargesn Sustaining Campaign will allow us to create curriculum to accompany the web series, produce a Fargesn podcast series & develop a longer documentary about segregation in St. Louis. It will also allow us to develop a long term strategy with new partners.
Fargesn means Forgotten in Yiddish. The Fargesn Media Project believes the closeness in sound between Ferguson and Fargesn is not an accident. Rather, we believe this word from an almost-dead Jewish language reaches across time to teach us about Ferguson. Fargesn is a warning and a call to action. It is a charge to tell a story that might be forgotten, to tell its truth, and to make sure it is learned as history.
In August 2014, Fargesn Founder Sarah Barasch-Hagans and her husband and Fargesn narrator Graie Barasch-Hagans watched their home city of St. Louis be torn apart on the news. They knew the places on the news and they knew the protestors and the witnessing clergy. On live video streams and on Twitter and Facebook, they watched loved ones struggle with enormous state violence while exercising their right to protest the shocking death of Michael Brown and the context of racism that had brought about his death.
And they watched the media tell a selective story about Ferguson that seemed to miss all of the important plot points and context.
If we’re going to learn anything from what Ferguson, we have to tell the truth.
Sarah began the Fargesn Media Project a few months later as one effort to document some of the truth of what really happened in Ferguson.
Last summer, we launched the Fargesn Media Project with very few resources and were sustained by the belief that what people in Ferguson did was brave and worthy of preserving with the respect that history deserves. We returned to St. Louis to record the stories that could be lost because of their nuance and their characters.
We started an audio archive, launched a website, and produced a series of seven documentary short films about Ferguson that became the Fargesn film series.
Fargesn is an educational experiment that attracts serious interest from serious people. Since the summer of 2015, we’ve been contacted about Fargesn from corners we never expected. We’ve developed a speaker series to bring these voices to the wider world. We’ve delivered inspiring educational events to diverse crowds, bringing grassroots panels, mostly women and queer people of color, in front of a range of audiences. We’ve brought Fargesn to two preparatory high schools, a Christian seminary, a Unitarian Universalist Church, a Jewish Rabbinical School, Jewish college students and service corps members, to middle schoolers at suburban private schools and urban charter schools. We’ve been on public radio and covered in the national media.
And yet, we have a lot more to do. We have promises to keep. We have hours of important interviews we haven’t done anything with yet. We made a promise to do our best to tell certain stories for history’s sake, and we haven’t been able to do that yet.
We really need your help to take our next steps.
We need to raise the funds to finish major projects and to sustainably take our next steps. We are raising money so that we can stay true to our values of community-based storytelling that supports bravery and compassion, that takes its direction from the voices it amplifies and that fairly compensates underrepresented media makers.
The sustainer campaign will make it possible to begin pre-production on our full length documentary "The Roads Lead Nowhere," about the history of segregation in St. Louis. This film will tell the story of events that lead to Ferguson and why it’s so important that we know our past to understand our present and future.
In the summer of 2016 we will also develop a comprehensive curriculum to answer the requests we get for lesson plans accompany our films to use in both classroom and adult education settings. It will allow students to learn their history as it happens and to learn from the types of voices that are rarely taught in classrooms.
We also plan to use existing interviews to produce entertaining and inspiring audio podcasts in a series titled "Voices of Ferguson." If the campaign is successful, commuters from the New York subway to the California highways could be listening to the voices of Ferguson freedom fighters and imagining their own place in the struggle for racial justice and healing in this country.
We need to fairly compensate the people that work for us. We employ people dramatically underrepresented in mediaartists and activists, almost entirely women and people of color. We need to honor the extra intellectual, emotional and spiritual labor that goes into doing this work of telling difficult and nuanced truth about one's own personal and familial experience.
At the end of the day, this is about more than representation. This is about the historical record. How will history remember what happened in Ferguson? Will we learn anything?
If we're going to learn anything from the world we live in, we have to tell the truth.
When we learn the truth, we know that we too can be brave. We know that Black women in Ferguson taught us that it is our duty to fight for our freedom. We know that queer people have always been on the frontlines of protest movements. We know that when the state unleashes violence on people, many regular people respond with enormous acts of compassion and courage. We know that people across faiths and of no faith came together to risk everything, and that they sparked the new Civil Rights Movement.
Everywhere can be a place for telling the truth. The more people we reach through films, podcasts, classroom materials, and public events, the more people will know that there are freedom fighters all around them.
Will we look back and know that we did everything in our power to tell the truth and tell it well? The answer will partly depend on you. Please donate today. We need your help to finish telling these stories.
Many thanks to nonprofit sponsor New Legends and Rabbi Margot Stein.
Always grateful to Aaron Banks and Philip Deitch for the use of their photography.
Endless thanks is due to Fargesn speakers and panelists Angel Carter, Brittany Ferell, Alexis Templeton, and Rabbi Susan Talve.
Eternal gratitude to supporters Reverend Deb Krause and Reverend Mike Kinman.