Notes from Susan: Let’s Hear it For Hope!

Notes from Susan: Let’s Hear it For Hope!


Notes from Susan: Let’s Hear it for Hope!

By Susan MacLaury

Hi Everyone,

I hope this letter finds you safe and well. As you know, every year we send out a video describing what we’ve done. If you’ve not yet seen our 2020 videos, I hope you will and in fact… here’s one of them now:

I love it, and am especially moved by Dominic, one of the three young protagonists of our first film, War/Dance, who recalls how during the darkest days of civil war and threats by the Lord’s Resistance Army, when families were forced into overcrowded IDP camps to survive, he had only hope. And it was enough.

Our capacity for hopefulness has been sorely tested this year. In my personal efforts to mitigate this, I’d forward videos to friends that I hoped were inspirational/funny. I think overall they enjoyed them but some made it clear that while they appreciated my optimism, they didn’t share it. I understand this but wish they could, because I’m with Dom… we’re nowhere without hope.

Hope is the core of the work Shine Global does – from the films and series we create, to the educational materials we write to extend their reach, to our film and Q&A series that we hope brought thought-provoking beauty into our viewers’ lives.

To all of you who’ve donated to Shine Global this year, taken the time to let us know you’re with us, that you, too, have hope…. thank you.  If you’ve not yet donated to Shine Global, please consider doing so now. We have exciting plans for expanding our storytelling to include both animated and scripted films and we’d love for you to be part of our continuing journey.

And let’s continue daring to hope in 2021. Albie, Alex and Sean join me in sending you our very best wishes for a spectacular new year.

Take care,

Susan MacLaury
Executive Director and Co-Founder of Shine Global




Notes from Susan: Let’s Hear it For Hope!

2020’s Notes from Susan


2020’s Notes from Susan

Did you miss one of Shine Global Co-Founder and Executive Director Susan MacLaury’s posts from 2020?  You can see them all here – and you might notice a surprising theme of hope despite it being 2020.  But hope is at the core of Shine Global, so perhaps not so surprising after all.  (And stay tuned for her end of the year letter coming December 30th!)

Notes from Susan: The Most Impactful Media Experience of My Childhood

I was 8 years old the morning of August 31, 1955 when I saw Emmett Till’s face on the front page of our newspaper…It was the most impactful media experience of my childhood and led to eventually founding Shine Global.

Notes from Susan: Essential But Unprotected: US Farmworkers

On June 12th – World Day Against Child Labor – we screened The Harvest (La Cosecha) and moderated a panel about what needs to be done to protect essential farmworkers with US Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard, Norma Flores López, and Zulema Lopez, one of the three young subjects of The Harvest, then 12 and now 23 and a recent college graduate.

Notes from Susan: A Child Cries “I Can’t Breathe”

During this very important Black Lives Matter movement toward real justice reform let us remember Cornelius and the countless other children and teens who are NOT disposable. Their lives are precious. Their lives matter. They are all our children.

Notes from Susan: Hail to the Chief

Chief Durham was a strong proponent of community policing, of viewing his cops as “saviors, not warriors,” and he understood that community trust couldn’t be assumed – it had to be earned. Hear how he became involved with Performing Statistics in his own words

Notes from Susan: What Can We Do?

You ask yourself what can we do to help, to try to make a difference of some kind. In my case, I worked with kids of color as a social worker and taught racially diverse college students as a professor. For the past 15 years I’ve been executive director of a non-profit that “shines a light” on underserved kids and families around the world

Notes from Susan: Covid-19 Reveals The “Weathering” Of African-Americans

African-Americans, particularly males – are dying at disproportionately higher rates from COVID-19 than any other segment of the US population – due to an affect called “weathering.” This is something many of our film subjects have experienced.

Notes from Susan: Proud to Live in Jersey

I am very proud to be a New Jerseyan as the bill Governor Murphy signed in December, A8523, comes into effect making New Jersey the 17th state to enable formerly incarcerated people on probation or parole to vote.

Notes from Susan: American Children Going Hungry during Coronavirus

In the US, approximately 22 million kids get free or reduced-price lunches during the school year. Since the outbreak of the coronavirus, one of the immediate concerns of educators and legislators alike has been not only the disruption to learning school closings will cause, but also the number of kids normally in school programs providing free or reduced breakfasts and lunches who will go hungry.

Celebrating 15 Years of Transforming Children’s Lives Through Film

Celebrating 15 Years of Transforming Children’s Lives Through Film


Celebrating 15 Years of Transforming Children’s Lives Through Film

Watch Two New Videos Featuring our Filmmakers, Subjects, and Activists

2020 is Shine Global’s 15th Anniversary and we are grateful for your support that has helped us to create moving films about many of the issues facing children and their families around the world and that inspire change.

Thanks to your support, we’ve been able to host a free screening series in 2020 celebrating 15 years of filmmaking at Shine Global. We’ve heard from Oscar-winning directors Sean and Andrea Fine, Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard, and we even spoke with comedian/actor John Leguizamo. It has been an absolute joy for us to host these screenings and to see Shine Global’s filmmakers and subjects reunited on screen and to hear how Shine Global’s films are being used for change.


We’ve been privileged to work with dedicated filmmakers, activists, children and families these past 15 years. They all do this because they care. They believe in social justice and understand the power of film to promote it.  Hear more from some of our filmmakers in this short video:


We’re grateful to them and to you for your support. Please don’t stop now. Help us continue to inspire change. For every story Shine Global has brought you over the past 15 years, there are dozens more that need to be told. And Shine Global ensures these stories have an impact as we create compelling films, tools for community action, and the companion educational materials that will inspire the next generation of leaders.