In commemoration of the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, the Office of Intercultural Affairs will host a screening of the Academy Award-nominated documentary, “Trouble the Water,” followed by a discussion with Assistant Professor of Education Khuram Hussain, Assistant Director of Student Engagement at Goucher College Aisha Rivers ’07 and Assistant Professor of Political Science Justin Rose.
Directed by Tia Lessin and Carl Deal, the 2008 film explores issues of race and class in Louisiana, while examining relationships between the government and its people. Previously screened at HWS in 2009 shortly after its initial release, “Trouble in the Water” is an in-depth exploration of Hurricane Katrina told through “a redemptive tale of two self-described street hustlers who become heroes – two unforgettable people who survive the storm and then seize a chance for a new beginning,” as described by the filmmakers.
The free public screening will begin at 6:30 p.m. in the Vandervort Room of the Scandling Campus Center on Wednesday, Oct. 7, followed by a discussion at 8 p.m.
“The aftermath of Hurricane Katrina reminded us that we are a democracy in the making,” Director of the Office of Intercultural Affairs Alejandra Molina says. “The images that were taken of people asking for help from their rooftops were an indictment on all of us – this is the spirit behind this documentary.”
The speakers will discuss their connections to the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, including the social and economic atmosphere of New Orleans. As a William Smith student, Rivers went to New Orleans to assist with recovery efforts; Rose’s academic expertise of race and American politics is the central theme of “Trouble the Water;” and Hussain has significant expertise in Civil Rights and education.
Rivers says that “Trouble the Water” will serve as a touchstone during the discussion, as attendees and panelists will share personal stories from the natural disaster.
“We hope that we all learn that natural disasters remind us not only of the force of nature but they also teach us that social justice and environmental justice are unavoidably intertwined,” Rivers explains.
The event is hosted in collaboration with the Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning. Over four years – starting in 2006 after it was safe for students to volunteer – HWS students, faculty and staff participated in eight trips to New Orleans, each time working in different parts of the city. In addition, the student group “HWS Responds” raised more than $36,000 for relief efforts in New Orleans.