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

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


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

By Susan MacLaury

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. He had been beaten, mutilated and shot and his body thrown into the Tallahatchie River three days earlier because he was Black. It was the most impactful media experience of my childhood.

It was the moment when I first realized that if such violence could be wrought against one child, then all children, particularly children of color, were vulnerable. It was this awareness that drove me into social work, education, and 15 years ago, to co-founding Shine Global with my husband, Albie Hecht. We were determined to shine a light on stories of children and families around the world struggling to survive, and hopefully, to achieve their dreams. Today, 65 years after Emmett’s death, this goal is more important than ever.

It’s never easy to see children’s suffering. That’s why we’ve chosen to find the hope in the hardship and to accentuate kids’ resilience as they struggle against very long odds.

We do this because films and the discussions they inspire can make a difference in children’s lives. Four of our films have gone to Congress and influenced legislation, but it’s also our films’ quieter accomplishments that keep us going:

  • the young homeless teen who, after seeing Inocente, decided to start a support group for others who were also living in his shelter
  • the London government officials who opened their own bike racing programs for underserved kids after seeing 1 Way Up;
  • the corporate executive who recently commented that the screening of Virtually Free and subsequent discussion with its director “inspired our team to do more in the space of juvenile justice and alternative community programs.”

I hope you are nodding as you read this, and that you are moved to continue supporting Shine Global’s efforts to stand with children who deserve every ounce of the love and support we can give. Please donate now.

Thank you, and stay safe and well.

Susan MacLaury childhood picture

Susan MacLaury 
Executive Director and Co-Founder of Shine Global