‘RONDO: Beyond the Pavement’ screening

St. Paul Almanac and In Black Ink, in partnership with St. Paul Neighborhood Network and High School for Recording Arts, will present a viewing of the Rondo youth-produced film “RONDO: Beyond the Pavement” on Monday, Jan. 21, from 6 to 8 p.m. at SteppingStone Theatre, located at 55 Victoria St. in St. Paul. Beginning February 2018, youth from the Rondo community learned documentary skills from Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Bianca Rhodes and audio-production skills from audio maker Katharine DeCelle. Rhodes produces “Candy Fresh” on St. Paul Neighborhood Network, and DeCelle is director of Frogtown Radio. Youth artists Yevrah Bradley, Angelo Bush, Amina DeLeon, Lamara Greene, Aubriana Jackson, Deonte Jones, Jasmine McBride, Charles Miller, Jevrye Morris, Jose Quintanilla, and Destiny Roberts created the film.

“Learning about what happened in the Rondo community while interviewing those who witnessed their homes being destroyed was heartbreaking,” says Morris. “It was astounding the resilience they showed. It lit a fire in me. Rondo never stopped trying to rebuild what was there. It gave me a lot of confidence in myself to go after what I love to do in life. I learned that I-94 going through Rondo was a power struggle to limit what the black community could actually do. It didn’t stop us at all.”

Storymobile, led by director Melvin Giles and manager Darius Gray, wanted to collect and preserve the historical memory of the Rondo neighborhood from a multigenerational perspective. Storymobile worked with Rondo youth to record stories of Rondo that give an intimate view of the impact the destruction of Rondo and construction of Interstate 94 had on people’s lives and how that impact continues today.

“If we know who we are and who we came from, it helps us to go forward in our lives,” says Donna Evans in the film. “If we know nothing about our history, then how are we to know about our future?”

Georgia Fort provided transcription services and additional editing. Clarence White and Kemet Imhotep provided additional mentoring. Rondo elders Melvin Emanuel, Donna Evans, Melvin Giles, Lorraine Gurley, Kathy Harris, Nina Harris, Bettie M. Lewis, Margaret Lovejoy, Marvin Scroggins, Amie D. Thomas, Gregory Thomas, and Jacquelyn Thomas were interviewed.

The 30-minute film screening will immediately be followed by a Q&A session with the youth filmmakers and elders from the film and Rondo community. Refreshments will be served.

Tickets for the event can be reserved at https://saintpaulalmanac.org/.

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