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An Evening of Film and Discussion

“40 Years Later: Now Can We Talk?”

Stephanie Penceal’s Introductory Remarks
February 6, 2014

Good evening and welcome everyone. I am Stephanie Penceal, a 1992 Graduate of Bank Street’s Museum Leadership program and a founding member of the Pemberton Society. The Priscilla E. Pemberton Society is a college-sponsored volunteer effort to expand support for diversity throughout Bank Street. We aim to substantially increase assistance for students of color and to enhance student services.

Since its founding in 2005, under the ongoing leadership of our founding president Lucia Jack and a group of 12 committed volunteers comprised of Trustees, alumni, and friends of the College, the Pemberton Society has raised funds to fully endow two diversity scholarships in the Bank Street Graduate School, the Priscilla E. Pemberton Memorial Scholarship and the Joyce and David Dinkins Tribute Scholarship. Through its Lucia Henley Jack Student Support Fund, the Society has also supported a writing assistance program for students.

Since 2005, over $3.3 million has been raised from generous donors in order to increase diversity in all of Bank Street’s classrooms. Including the two Pemberton Society endowed scholarships, there are currently eighteen diversity scholarships at Bank Street. You can learn more by visiting Bank Street’s website.

In addition to fundraising, the Pemberton Society has focused on increasing awareness about our diversity work. Each February, the Society plans a Black History Month exhibit or program at the College. Tonight we are thrilled to partner for the first time with the College’s Staff Council and Diversity Committee on this evening’s program. On behalf of the Pemberton Society I would like to thank Caitlin Terry and Arianne Kailas the staff council co- chairs and Mollie Welsh Kruger and Jessica Robins the Diversity Committee co- chairs, for enthusiastically partnering with us.

Our program tonight is a screening of the important documentary film 40 Years Later: Now Can We Talk which tells the stories of the first class of African Americans to integrate the white high school in the Mississippi delta town of Batesville in the years 1967-69. This extraordinary film will receive the Witten Award for Distinguished Documentary Film in Education at the University of South Carolina’s Museum of Education on April 15th.

Joining us this evening after the screening as our panelists are:

Lee Anne Bell, the film’s executive producer. Lee Anne is both a professor of education and the Barbara Silver Horowitz Director of Education at Barnard College, and Markie Hancock of Hancock Productions. Markie is a filmmaker who first began producing educational documentary films nearly 20 years ago. Having taught media in public high schools in Chicago and New York, Markie Hancock's first video client was the Annenberg Institute for School Reform. And of course Fern Kahn, Dean Emerita of Bank Street’s former Continuing Education Division, a Pemberton Society 2012 Leadership in Diversity Award recipient,  and  currently the  Board Chair of  the Partnership for Afterschool Education.