Tracy Sugarman and Bill Buckley have spent their lives using film, words and illustrations to affect social change.
Now in their 80s — but not slowing down — they brought their 20-minute film, “Immigrant from America,” to the Westport Arts Center last night. Their mission: to inspire youngsters from Westport and Bridgeport to keep up the fight.
About 20 students from Bridge Academy — the renowned Bridgeport charter school — and 10 involved with the Westport Youth Film Festival watched the documentary, a probing look at how African Americans used education, economic strength and politics to overcome racial barriers.
Tracy and Bill then led a discussion about stereotypes that remain, 40 years after their film was made. They challenged the teenagers from both communities to look outside themselves, and work toward a better world.
The filmmakers urged the Westport and Bridgeport youngsters to tell their own stories. They can use traditional mediums like movies, art and literature, new ones like computer graphics and the internet — and those that have not yet been invented.
Everyone has something to say. Personal stories are powerful. After hearing from 2 men who have spent decades telling their own stories, and helping others tell theirs, last night’s audience seems ready to pick up the torch.