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SPOTLIGHT REPORT


Student project documents community history


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The East Austin Stories project is a collaboration between University of Texas film students and the people of East Austin. The students produce short documentary features that connect to life in East Austin, and these films are later presented at public screenings in East Austin.

Photo: Akwasi EvansOne of these features profiles the East Austin progressive newspaper Nokoa and its publisher Akwasi Evans. Evans founded his newspaper 18 years ago to offer a perspective he felt was missing even in Austin's existing progressive press.

"I'm not here to be another black newspaper, says Evans. "When I first started the paper, I told everybody who would listen that I was going to be a participant observer, not just an observer. The disabled movement, the gay and lesbian movements, the women's movement -- we didn't just cover. We supported. We participated."

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Photo: Marissa and Marcus DuBoisAnother piece tells the story of two teenage mothers. These women are part of a group whose voices are often ignored.

"When I was 14 they were like 'You're too young to have a kid,' and I was just like, 'I know, but things happen. It's just the way God planned it,'" says Marissa DuBois.

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Photo: Juan and SofiaThe film "Playing Papi" takes a look at two non-traditional Latino fathers living in East Austin. Both of these men stay home with their children while their wives work. These men work to be good fathers while struggling with the difficulties that come with defying gender role expectations.

"When my wife was pregnant, when we found out we were pregnant . . . we went and looked at two day cares," says Juan Valadéz de la Fuente. "As soon as I walked out of there, I was like, we're not going to do this. She doesn't need to be raised by someone else."

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Produced by Damien Brockman, Helen Gagne, and Lane Genzlinger.

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