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Topic Talks: Who Are You?
Topic Talks was held February 21, 2018 at the Brooklyn Historical Society. The evening was focused around the thought of identity. How you perceive yourself and how the world perceives you may be different. The personal becomes political in the exploration of who we are. The question raised through the screenings and panel discussion was Who are You?
Guests of the event were ushered through the Historical Society's doors at 7p.m. at the 128 Pierrepont Street location. A new second location also exists in DUMBO. The Topic Talks reception was bites of Asian street food and Empanadas along with a signature cocktail and beverages. Attendees were invited to roam the silhouette gallery upstairs in the building that was founded in 1863. The nationally recognized historic building is a cultural center for thoughtful discussion, community engagement, and outreach.
Reporter Nicolas Kulish @NKulish spoke of his identity as one of a son of an immigrant, therefore his interest in foreign correspondence work and a father whose military experience translated to his need to keep his shoes shined. The outside world saw Nicholas a giant. Standing at 6’8, the man who described his childhood as one of assumptions that he was a basketball player or able to reach anything, was not how he saw himself. Kulish was aware that his size 15 shoe was perceived otherwise.
Shantell Martin @shantell_martin grew up with a black parent and a white parent. Her mother had additional children that were white only. Martin did not see herself as different until returning home from college and one of her sister's friends screamed that there is a black person in your house. To Shantell, the environment she grew up in did not distinguish one race or another. They were a family. The outside world saw colors.
Loving V. Virginia is the 1967 Supreme Court case that invalidated laws prohibiting interracial marriage. The Loving Generation is a documentary film that anchored the evening's film screenings telling the stories of children born to interracial couples before and after the landmark civil rights decision was made.
A panel of filmmakers who contributed to the evening included:
Lacey Schwartz @LaceySchwartz
Rebecca Carrol @rebel19
Mat Johnson @mat_johnson
Anna Holmes @annaholmes
And moderator Amy S. Choi @awesomechoi
Additional films presented in the series are available online www.topic.com/identity-checks include Eddie and Edith, an Oscar nominated short about an aging couple being forced to separate against their will. Animated works, shorts and features available in the February issue of Topic Talks serves as an Identity Check.
View photos from the event in our PhotoSeen gallery.