I Am TCNJ: A Docu-Story Project has been nominated in two categories in the 2021 Mid-Atlantic Regional Emmy Awards.
Debuting in spring 2021, the docu-story project gives voice to personal perceptions of the ways in which various TCNJ students internalize their lives and experiences at the college. The focus of the project is on the underlying nature of privilege and difference on the TCNJ campus and directly addresses issues such as microaggressions, unconscious biases, and institutional racism.
“A project of this nature is incredibly important because it is designed to raise awareness about both the lived experiences of a racially diverse cross section of students, but to also start a discussion about the marginalizing behaviors that are woven into policy and embedded in our campus structures,” said Donald Leake, associate professor of educational administration and secondary education and docu-story producer.
At its core, the project is described as a vehicle for students to open their minds and hearts to the experiences of others.
The production team includes Lorna Johnson-Frizell, interim dean of the School of the Arts and Communication, director; Genevieve Faust ’08, adjunct professor, editor; Sean Stallings, vice president for student affairs, executive producer; and Brenda and Donald Leake, associate professors of education, producers.
“The heart of our team were the amazing students from across the campus who willingly gave their time and shared their powerful stories,” Brenda Leake said. “The docu-story would not have become reality without the courage of these students to speak truth to power. We are indebted to these students for their deep and abiding commitment to describing both the personal and structural issues that impact all of us.”
Starting this fall semester, the college will highlight on its website and social media channels each of the docu-story’s 10 themes, providing opportunities for further reflection and discussion on these important topics.
“It is imperative that we have a campuswide discussion about the quality of life on our campus for students, faculty, and staff in general, but in particular, those of color,” Donald Leake said. “To paraphrase the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg, to have a racial objective, you must have a racial means. We see the docu-story as the means to start this discussion.”
The 2021 Mid-Atlantic Emmy Award Recipients will be announced by the end of September.
— Emily W. Dodd ’03