Beyond the Bricks engulfs viewers within minutes of its opening credits as it follows teenagers, Shaquiel Ingram and Erick Graham as they struggle to stay on track in the Newark, NJ public school system, while weaving in vital information and statistics that paint a clear if not grim picture of urban education in the 21st century. Peppered with commentary from various leading community voices and scholars including the Reverend Al Sharpton, Newark Mayor Corey Booker and Schott Foundation President and CEO Dr. John Jackson among others, Beyond the Bricks explores the impact that an intuitive and engaged community and its leaders have on today’s youth. It is when the documentary viewers realize that the burden of educating an entire generation of young men falls on not just those in control of public policy and the school system, but on the community at large, that the story transcends the films subjects and becomes a personable narrative for anyone engaged in the film. Though the film focuses on these captivating Newark students the issues within it extend far beyond the borders of New Jersey to urban enclaves throughout the nation.
More information on Beyond The Bricks can be found by visiting
Recognizing that education reform is a national issue, starting in September the Washington Koen Media team will come together with leading national and local community organizations to host a series of Beyond the Bricks Town Hall events in 10 communities that have been identified by their struggling performance and upsetting graduation rates for black males. The tour will serve as a platform for discussion to explore real solutions for a real problem with hope that through continued community efforts and a broadened sense of what constitutes successful change, the seemingly insurmountable obstacles that affect African‐American boys and their education can begin to take a turn for the best.
Town Hall Dates & Locations:
September 18 Jackson, MS Tougaloo College
September 25 New Orleans, LA TBD
October 2 Oakland, CA Allen Temple Baptist Church
October 9 Baltimore, MD Morgan State University
October 16 Atlanta, GA Morehouse College
October 23 Detroit, MI Detroit Public Library
October 30 Chicago, IL University of Chicago
November 6 Milwaukee, WI TBD
November 13 Philadelphia, PA TBD
November 20 Boston, MA Wheelock College