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Achieving civil discourse through storytelling focus of Arkansas PBS virtual screening, discussion

Posted 27 Mar 2021

Panel includes ‘PBS American Portrait’ executive producer,

representatives from StoryCorps, The Moth, ‘Snap Judgment’

CONWAY, Ark. (Arkansas PBS) — Arkansas PBS will host the free virtual screening and discussion “PBS American Portrait: Achieving Civil Discourse Through Storytelling,” which explores the role personal stories play in civil discourse, Wednesday, March 31, at 6 p.m. Registration is required at

The event will feature a screening of “PBS American Portrait,” followed by a discussion with a distinguished panel of guests and moderators Clarice and Kwami Abdul-Bey of the Arkansas Peace and Justice Memorial Movement.

Panelists discussing strategies to address difficult topics through civil discourse by using storytelling will be:

·        Craig D’Entrone, “PBS American Portrait” executive producer.

·        Nicolas Cadena, StoryCorps.

·        Jenifer Hixson, The Moth. (Panelist is tentative, and organization may be represented by an alternate guest.)

·        Glynn Washington, “Snap Judgment.” (Panelist is tentative, and organization may be represented by an alternate guest.)

·        Hilary Trudell, The Yarn.

·        Ryan Norris, Americans for Prosperity.

·        Amber Booth-McCoy, The Diversity Booth.

·        Katie Zakrzewski, Braver Angels.

·        Tom DeWolf, Coming to the Table.

This event is presented in partnership with UA Little Rock Public Radio, Washitaw Foothills Youth Media Arts and Literacy Collective, and the Arkansas Peace and Justice Memorial Movement.

Production support has been provided by a grant from PBS.

“PBS American Portrait” is an ongoing initiative that gives individuals all over the country a communal space to share their own stories and explore the thoughts and feelings of their fellow Americans. This webinar will examine the purpose of the initiative, as well as share methods for using “American Portrait” to practice social-emotional skills, expand media literacy, and hone speaking and listening skills.

More information about “PBS American Portrait” is available at Viewers may join and follow the conversation at #AmericanPortraitPBS on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to view the thousands of stories already submitted. Arkansans who have recently participated in the project include Kendrick of Little Rock responding to “I never expected …,” Jay of Fort Smtih responding to “When this is over …” and Hannah of Alexander responding to “Now is the time …,” among several others.

Launched in January 2020, “PBS American Portrait,” a national storytelling project aligned with PBS’s 50th anniversary celebration, is the organization’s most ambitious multiplatform project in its history. Leveraging the local reach of PBS through its member stations, “PBS American Portrait” presents a mosaic of the country’s diversity by connecting tens of thousands of people across the country, creating a communal voice through individual stories of joy, hardship, triumphs and sorrow. Participants tell and share their own stories, and see the stories shared by a wide panorama of Americans, united by a series of prompts, including: “I was raised to believe…,” “The tradition I carry on is…,” “What keeps me up at night is…,” “When I step outside my door…” and “Most days I feel…”

Target is a major funder and national promotional partner for “PBS American Portrait.” Additional funding is provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and Anne Ray Foundation. 

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