A Path Appears preview focuses on Poverty – Q&A with Ed Lazere (Jan. 25)

The negative impacts of poverty and income inequality in the District are clear. The District lost half of its low-cost housing in a decade, and the typical low-income family spends two-thirds of its income for rent and utilities. Homelessness has increased to crisis levels. Progress in improving education outcomes is confounded by a high rate of child poverty, with thousands of children coming to school with stress, malnutrition, and other barriers to succeeding academically.

DC Fiscal Policy Report: Reducing Inequality, Increasing Opportunities for DC Residents: Recommendations to the New Mayor and DC Council

Ed Lazere

Ed Lazere, executive director for the DC Fiscal Policy Institute is the guest speaker for the Community Cinema [DC] preview of  A PATH APPEARS. The January 25 screening (5 PM) at Busboys and Poets (14th & V) will feature the 2nd episode from the mini-series, “Breaking the Cycle of Poverty.”

path-appears_email-shareable-web_imageA PATH APPEARS is from the creative team behind the groundbreaking series Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide. The series follows author/reporters Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn and celebrity activists Malin Akerman, Mia Farrow, Ronan Farrow, Jennifer Garner, Regina Hall, Ashley Judd, Blake Lively, Eva Longoria, and Alfre Woodard to locations throughout the United States, Colombia, Haiti, and Kenya, as they explore the roots of gender inequality, the devastating impact of poverty, and the ripple effects that follow — including sex trafficking, teen pregnancy, gender-based violence, and child slavery. In their travels, they meet with inspiring activists who are creating effective solutions to gender-based oppression, transforming lives, and providing a roadmap for sustainable future change. Based on the book by Kristof and WuDunn, A Path Appears: Transforming Lives, Creating Opportunity (a copy will be given away as a door prize at the event), the three-part series, a pillar program of the Women and Girls Lead initiative, premieres as a special presentation of “Independent Lens” on three consecutive Monday nights, January 26, February 2, and February 9, 2015 at 10/9c (check local listings) on PBS.

Ed has led the work of the DC Fiscal Policy Institute since its inception in 2001. Under his leadership, DCFPI has become the primary source of independent information on the DC budget and one of the most influential policy organizations focused on the District. Lazere is recognized as a leading expert on the District’s budget and tax system, and he is looked to as a resource on a number of policy issues such as affordable housing and welfare-to-work programs.

Ed’s work at the DC Fiscal Policy Institute has received numerous honors, including awards from Bread for the City, the Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia, the DC Employment Justice Center, the DC Primary Care Association, the Center for Nonprofit Advancement, DC Jobs With Justice, and the Healthy Families/Thriving Communities Collaborative Council. He is cited frequently in the media, including The Washington Post, the Washington Business Journal, WAMU, WTOP and numerous blogs.

Ed served as the Chair of the Public Education Finance Reform Commission in 2011-2012 and a member of the DC Tax Revision Commission in 2012-13. Lazere also serves on the board of directors of a number of local non-profits, including the Children’s Law Center, the Consumer Health Foundation, the DC Primary Care Association, and Temple Micah.

Ed earned an undergraduate degree from Harvard College and a Masters in Public Policy from the University of Maryland

Evolution of Hope

“There are people incarcerated who have hope in seemingly hopeless situations. How can we connect to encourage them and help connect them to opportunities?”

Taken from audience questionnaire

Carroll Skipwith of Baltimore takes the mic.  Darius on screen. photo credit:  Institute for Policy Studies

Carroll Skipwith of Baltimore takes the mic. Darius on screen. From L-R: Stuart Anderson, Lashonia Ethridge Bey, Charles Thornton. Photo credit: Institute for Policy Studies

Filmmaker Darius Clark Monroe joined the Q&A via Skype after the Community Cinema [DC] screening of EVOLUTION OF A CRIMINAL in November at Busboys and Poets.  Our panelists were all returning citizens who are involved in helping other returning citizens succede. Guests speakers are currently employed, completing college degrees, and running their own business.

Carroll Skipwith and Taharka Brothers ice cream founder Sean McCombs came from Baltimore for the screening. Taharka Brothers ice cream is served at Busboys and Poets. The company began as a non-profit social enterprise reaching out to Baltimore’s troubled youth and returning citizens with an entrepreneurial training opportunity. Carroll is a Taharka alumni who now runs his own real estate business. Charles Thornton, Director of the Mayor’s Office on Returning Citizens (ORCA), ORCA’s Lashonia Ethridge Bey, and Family & Friends of Incarcerated People founder Stuart Anderson shared personal stories, advice and encouragement for people who want to make a success when given a second chance. Darius and everyone on the panel are examples that along with the challenges success is possible.

EVOLUTION OF A CRIMINAL has its television premiere Monday, January 12, 2015 on the PBS series “Independent Lens.” Check local listings for dates and times.

Evolution of a Criminal (November)


Darius Clark Monroe

Darius Clark Monroe

The critically acclaimed documentary by Darius Clark Monroe is coming to ITVS Community Cinema in November. Monroe will join the Busboys and Poets post-screening discussion via Skype with additional guests including Charles Thornton, director for the District of Columbia’s Office on Returning Citizen Affairs (ORCA), Lashonia Etheridge-Bey, Community Service Program Specialist (ORCA), and Stuart Anderson, Founder and Director, Family & Friends of Incarcerated People (FFOIP).  Sunday, November 23 at Busboys and Poets (Hill Center at the Old Naval Hospital will present a screening Friday, November 7).d

A native of Houston, Texas, Darius Clark Monroe had a happy childhood with his mother, stepfather, and close-knit extended family. However, as he grew older and saw his parents struggling to make ends meet, Monroe’s vision of the world changed: “I went from being a carefree and joyous child to becoming acutely aware of the fact that the world was not as I saw it. And the burden that my parents had was slowly trickling down to me.” Placing his own culpability at the heart of the story, Monroe pulls no punches, using dramatized scenes of the bank robbery to capture the tragically bad decisions he and his friends made, and to bring home the terror of those they held at gunpoint. More than just a tale of a good kid gone wrong, Evolution of a Criminal is filled with compassion for human frailty and the knowledge that a person is not forever defined by their mistakes.

Download the Discussion Guide