You’ve Seen American Promise, Now Read Promises Kept

Congratulations American Promise on the book release-
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RIISE Parent Affinity & Resource New Year’s Mixer-
PBS POV Television Screening of American Promise is February 3


Promises Kept_opt


From the directors of the award-winning documentary American Promise*
*Winner of the U. S. Documentary Special Jury Award, 2013 Sundance Film Festival
*Winner of the Grand Jury Prize, 2013 Full Frame Film Festival
Raising Black Boys to Succeed in School and in Life
By Joe Brewster, Michèle Stephenson and Hilary Beard

A Spiegel & Grau Trade Paperback •On Sale January 14, 2014

On February 3rd, 2014, PBS’s acclaimed POV series will air American Promise, the award-winning documentary by Joe Brewster and Michèle Stephenson, middle-class African-American parents in Brooklyn, N.Y., who turn their cameras on their son, Idris, and his best friend, Seun, to  chronicle the boys’ divergent paths from kindergarten through high school graduation. The film has galvanized early audiences around the complex questions it poses about the struggle to raise black boys and close the black male achievement gap.

PROMISES KEPT: Raising Black Boys to Succeed in School and in Life by Joe Brewster and Michele Stephenson with Hilary Beard (Spiegel & Grau Trade Paperback; On Sale January 14, 2014) tackles those questions head on.  As Brewster and Stephenson documented their son’s experiences for American Promise, they also set out to find out the reasons for Idris’s struggles, struggles he shared with black boys everywhere.  What they discovered is a world of dedicated researchers who have not just identified the reasons for gap, but had come up with innovative and often counterintuitive solutions to close it. In Promises Kept, Joe and Michèle have brought together those solutions – along with lessons learned from raising their own sons – in an unprecedented, deeply researched guide for parents, educators, and anyone with a role in raising a black boy.

Among the eye-opening findings in PROMISES KEPT:
The black male achievement gap is real – but it can be closed:  Some think the idea of a gap is racist; others think it’s genetic and based on black inferiority.  The premise of PROMISES KEPT is that the gap is undeniable – but that it has clear sources and can be overcome with the help of parents and
teachers by using proven, research-based methods.
Legacy parenting isn’t working:  Just because our mothers and fathers did it, doesn’t make it right.  Both parents and teachers need to rethink some traditional ideas about discipline, diet and health,
media consumption, confronting (or evading) racism, and education.
Racism is real – but different from the past:  New cutting-edge concepts in understanding race and racism – from “implicit bias” to “stereotype threat” – can help parents have “the talk” with their sons about the role race will play in their lives.
Parents and educators of black boys can counteract almost all aspects of the gap: The achievement gap is a daunting problem, but with PROMISES KEPT, parents will have the tools they need to overcome it, and help their black boys thrive in all aspects of their lives – with grit, resilience, emotional strength, and academic confidence.

PROMISES KEPT is both a stirring call to arms and an unprecedented collection of solutions.  It challenges parents of black boys to keep the promise to their sons – and gives them every tool they need to create a plan to successfully navigate a changing and increasingly competitive world. PROMISES KEPT is the handbook for people who love, raise, and educate black boys.

JOE BREWSTER, M.D. and MICHELE STEPHENSON are the co-directors of American Promise.  JOE is a social psychiatrist and the director of number of award-winning narrative and documentary films.   His clinical work as a psychiatrist has included treating numerous black boys, both within and outside of institutional settings.  He was raised in Los Angeles and studied medicine at Harvard University.  MICHELE has worked as an international human rights lawyer and a film producer. For fifteen years, the Haitian-Panamanian has used her international background and experience as a human-rights attorney to document social justice stories across a variety of media platforms.  She is a graduate of Columbia Law School and McGill University.   Together they are the parents of two sons, Idris who is a freshman at Occidental College and Miles, an 8th grader, and live in Brooklyn, New York. HILARY BEARD is an award-winning writer, editor, and book collaborator.  She is the co-author of three New York Times bestsellers:  21Pounds in 21 Days: The Martha’s Vineyard Diet/Detox (Collins), Serving from the Hip by Venus and Serena Williams (Houghton Mifflin), and Friends: A Love Story with Angela Bassett and Courtney B. Vance. She won an NAACP image award for Health First: The Black Woman’s Wellness Guide.  Today she coaches others through career and life transitions.  She lives in Philadelphia and is a Princeton University graduate.

Raising Black Boys to Succeed in School and in Life
Spiegel & Grau Trade Paperback ● On sale January 14, 2014 ● ISBN:  9780812984897● ebook ISBN: 9780812994490

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