NET’s 2013-2014 Coffee and Conversation Series Focuses on Critical Social Issues

News Release Date: 
October 1, 2013

For Immediate Release

NET’s 2013-2014 Coffee and Conversation Series Focuses on Critical Social Issues

LINCOLN, Neb. (Sept. 30, 2013) -- NET launches its 2013-2014 “Coffee and Conversation in the Community” film and discussion series at 1 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 13, with a screening of “The Graduates/Los Graduados,” at  Mary Riepma Ross Media Arts Center at 313 N. 13th St. on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln campus.

“Coffee and Conversation” is free and open to the public. A moderated discussion of the film follows the screening. The films are shown in partnership with ITVS Community Cinema, Lincoln community radio station KZUM (89.3 FM), the Mary Riepma Ross Media Arts Center,  the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute and the Malone Community Center.

 “The Graduates/Los Graduados” looks at pressing issues in education through the eyes of a diverse array of Latino and Latina adolescents from across the United States. This eye-opening documentary examines the challenges facing students and their families. “Coffee and Conversation” will screen the first hour of the two-part documentary -- that hour focuses on Latino boys. After the film, Oscar Rios Pohirieth, cultural specialist with federal programs, Lincoln Public Schools; Pablo Cervantes, migrant education coordinator, Lincoln Public Schools; and Jasel Cantu, public information officer, Nebraska Latino American Commission, will lead a discussion in the adjacent Van Brunt Visitors Center.


Other films scheduled for the series are:

“The State of Arizona,” Sunday, Nov. 17, at 1 p.m.

The divisive battle over illegal immigration in Arizona that came to a head with Senate Bill 1070 frames this tense documentary that tracks multiple perspectives -- activists, politicians, Latino immigrants, controversial Sheriff Joe Arpaio, ranchers, and others -- as America eyes the results.  

·         “Spies of Mississippi,” Sunday, Dec. 15, at 1 p.m.

“Spies of Mississippi” reveals a different side of the civil rights movement.  A world of informants, infiltrators and agent provocateurs -- some African American -- who used tax-payer dollars to spy on its citizens.  The mission?  To preserve segregation at any cost.

·         “Las Marthas,” Sunday, Jan. 19, 2014, at 1 p.m.

Dating from the aftermath of the Spanish-American War, the annual debutante ball in Laredo, Texas, is unlike any other. “Las Marthas” follows two Mexican-American girls carrying this gilded tradition on their young shoulders during a time of economic uncertainty and political tension over immigration.

·         “The Trials of Muhammad Ali,” Sunday, Feb. 16, at 1 p.m.

“The Trials of Muhammad Ali” covers the famed boxer's toughest bout of all: his battle to overturn the five-year prison sentence he received for refusing U.S. military service. The film explores Ali's exile years when he was banned from boxing and found himself in the crosshairs of conflicts concerning race, religion, and wartime dissent.

·         “Medora,” Sunday, April 20, at 1 p.m.

Medora, Ind., is a once-booming community beset by a crippled economy and a dwindling population. This documentary follows the town's down-but-not-out varsity basketball team over a season, capturing the players’ stories on and off the court -- as the team's struggle to compete parallels the town's fight for survival.

·         “The New Black,” Sunday, May 18, at 1 p.m.

Centering on the historic fight to win marriage equality in Maryland, The New Black” takes viewers into the pews, the streets, and kitchen tables as it looks at how the African American community grapples with the divisive gay rights issue. 

ITVS Community Cinemais a public education and civic engagement initiative featuring screenings of films from PBS’s “Independent Lens” in 100 cities and online. Between September and June, Community Cinema brings together leading organizations, community members and public television stations to learn, discuss and get involved in today’s critical social issues.

“Our vision for the ‘Coffee and Conversation’ series is to engage a network of citizens and organizations to act locally and reach out globally,” said Marthaellen Florence, NET Community Engagement and Educational Outreach director.

For more information on the series and NET Community Engagement and Educational Outreach, check the NET website at


CONTACT: NET Community Outreach director Marthaellen Florence, 402-470-6603 or
RELEASE WRITTEN BY: Kim Hachiya, 402-470-6694, or

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