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Updated 9:00 AM September 14, 2009

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Don't miss: Film and discussion series addresses social issues

Now in its second year, the University-Community Social and Environmental Justice Film and Discussion Series brings together U-M with the greater Ann Arbor community and its diverse economic, race, class and religious backgrounds.

"We live next door to each other but are rarely engaged with substantive discussions with one another," says David Schoem, director of the Michigan Community Scholars Program (MCSP), adding the discussions promote learning and understanding.

Born from a partnership between the MCSP and the Ann Arbor Public Library, the series has been recognized by the U-M Ginsberg Center, which presented its Outstanding University Program Award and also has won a grant from the Gilbert Whitaker Fund for the Improvement of Teaching.

This fall MCSP faculty are incorporating the films into their fall seminars with first-year students. Discussions of the films will be led by the film directors.

Scheduled films, all presented at 6:30 p.m. at the Ann Arbor District Library, 343 S. 5th Ave., are:

• "Bilal's Stand," directed by Sultan Sharrief, Sept. 24. Based on a true story by the director, a recent U-M graduate, the film profiles the life of a high school student in Inkster, his family and community, and his struggle to attend U-M.

• "Asparagus: Stalking the American Life," directed by Anne de Mare, Oct. 15. The film describes asparagus growing Oceana County in western Michigan and the struggle to sustain the centerpiece of the culture and economy because of international politics and big business.

• "Fremont, USA," directed by Ellie Pierce of the Harvard Pluralism Project, Nov. 19. The film highlights city/community efforts and challenges to support a highly diverse religious community and build interfaith relations.

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