Metcalfe Park: Black Vote Rising
Video by Brad Lichtenstein and Miela Fetaw
Mother-daughter team Danell Cross and Melody McCurtis are determined to prevent what America witnessed during Wisconsin’s April primary election from happening again. It is estimated that the primary, held despite Covid-19 concerns, disenfranchised almost 16 percent of Black voters in Milwaukee, the largest city in a key swing state. “Metcalfe Park: Black Vote Rising” follows Danell and her daughter, Melody, as they organize their Black community of Metcalfe Park to not just prepare for reduced polling stations and see through disinformation campaigns, but to find a way to vote amid the challenges of job loss, furloughs, school closure, and illness. As they canvass door-to-door to reach people who are missed by digital social media campaigns, they deliver food and Covid-19 safety kits along with voting instructions. And they try to convince cynical and distrustful neighbors to vote despite their tested faith in the system and legitimate musings about what a president will do to change things on their block.
Brad Lichtenstein is an award-winning filmmaker who has been making documentaries since 1998 and founded 371 Productions in 2003. His work has been nominated for two Emmys and a Peabody, has been awarded two Duponts and has premiered at the Sundance and Tribeca film festivals. His company works with partners that range from Participant and PBS to The New York Times and The Intercept. 371, a company of mostly women and people of color, is committed to diversity and inclusion and is launching PipeDream, a mentorship and career development fellowship for filmmakers of color.
Miela Fetaw is an award-winning journalist and producer/director at 371 Productions. Her journalistic work has appeared in The Washington Post, ESSENCE, Teen Vogue, and Huffington Post. She worked on the Peabody-award nominated team at 371 that created the radio docuseries about gun violence, Precious Lives. Miela makes it her business to create work about immigration and identity, women and feminism, Blackness, politics of the body and women’s health, race, love and self-actualization. She has also served as a programmer for Milwaukee Film’s Black Lens series and is a member of the National Association of Black Journalists, Ida B. Wells Society and Investigative Reporters & Editors (IRE).