WTTW Screening of Asian Americans

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May 9, 2020
2:00pm Central Time
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WTTW believes in the power of film to engage communities in dialogue around the most important social and cultural issues of our time. Our community screenings bring the best of PBS documentaries to spotlight societal and culturally relevant topics that can promote healthy discussions long after the film has finished playing. WTTW is proud to partner with Asian Americans Advancing Justice - Chicago on the screening of ASIAN AMERICANS. ASIAN AMERICANS examines the significant role of Asian Americans in shaping American history and identity, from the first wave of Asian immigrants in the 1850s and identity politics during the social and cultural turmoil of the twentieth century to modern refugee crises in a globally connected world. ASIAN AMERICANS is a production of WETA Washington, DC and the Center for Asian American Media (CAAM) for PBS, in association with the Independent Television Service (ITVS), Flash Cuts and Tajima-Peña Productions.

Video Descriptions

WTTW Opening Screen 5 9


Asian Americans WETA Station Reel v02 - Unlisted

Advancing Justice | Chicago Panel - Asian Americans Documentary Series


WTTW Closing Screen Screen Slide

120 minutes


  • Moderator Avatar
    Timothy M. Russell

    Tim is currently the Vice President of Community Engagement of Chicago-based Window to the World Communications, Inc. (WWCI), parent company of public television station WTTW and classical music station WFMT. Tim is responsible for leading WWCI’s community engagement efforts focused on shaping the organization’s vision and strategy with relevant influencers, nonprofits, foundations, and business partners ensuring that they align with the organization’s strategic plan. Tim received his Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology and religion from Oberlin College, earned a Masters of Theological Studies with a concentration in Ethics and Society from Garrett Theological Seminary and completed a certificate program in Business Administration at Loyola University Chicago. In addition, as an undergraduate, Tim was awarded a Ford-Mellon Research Fellowship and a Ronald E. McNair Research Fellowship. Tim and his wife, Joi-Anissa, and their children – Mark and Ava – live in the Chicago suburb of Evanston, IL.


  • Panelist Avatar
    Niketa Brar


    Niketa Brar serves as the founding executive director of Chicago United for Equity. She comes to this work from a career working to bring a community-centered approach to government, starting during her time advising a city councilmember in Oakland, California. She has served as a consultant and policy adviser to elected leaders ranging from school board to municipal and state leadership roles. Niketa began her career in direct service, spending five years as an investigator with the DC Public Defender's Office and later as a teacher and dean in Title I schools. She currently serves on the Local School Council at National Teachers Academy, a Level 1+ school serving a majority Black, majority low-income student population. She co-founded CUE with LSC President Elisabeth Greer as they worked together to organize parents, students, and a larger citywide coalition to fight this school closing. Niketa holds a Bachelor of Arts in Public Policy and International Affairs from the George Washington University, a Masters of Arts in Teaching Secondary Mathematics from American University, and a Masters in Public Policy from the Ford School at the University of Michigan. She is the proud partner of a Chicago Public Schools teacher and mom to a future CPS student.

  • Panelist Avatar
    Kristina Tendilla


    Kristina Tendilla (she/they) has been a lifelong Filipinx organizer and community worker. As a young person, Kristina was a part of the FANHS Hampton Roads chapter where they shaped their worldview through learning history and community work. Most recently, Kristina was a national organizer with the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum working with chapters across the country to fight for reproductive justice. Before that, they were a community organizer with Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago for several years working on the city and state level. Kristina joined i2i to build solidarity with the queer and trans AAPI community. For 10 years, Kristina organized alongside families and people in the immigrant and refugee community to engage in the fight around worker rights, healthcare access, Illinois TRUST Act, rejecting anti-Muslim and xenophobic executive orders, & other immigrant/racial justice issues. Kristina was recognized as a National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum Everyday SHEroe and a Chicago Women and Femme to Celebrate. Through their work and other LGBTQIA+ AAPIs, i2i received the National Queer Asian American Pacific Islander Alliance Advocacy Award in 2016.

  • Panelist Avatar
    Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz


    Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz is the state representative of Illinois District 17. As the granddaughter of Chinese immigrants who fought deportation under the Chinese Exclusion Acts and the daughter of civil rights activists, She has been a determined fighter for the voiceless and the vulnerable her entire adult life. After law school, Jennifer worked as a lawyer at Winston and she fought and won in federal court to protect victims of child trafficking and forced marriage. She was the first American lawyer to earn a Masters Degree in International Human Rights Law from Northwestern University, publishing her research on gendered war crimes in the Northwestern Journal of Human Rights. Jennifer partnered with the National Immigrant Justice Center to aggressively defend the rights of unaccompanied immigrant children. As a founding member and co-chair of the Illinois Unaccompanied Children’s Task Force, Jennifer pioneered the use of pro bono social workers to serve as guardians ad litem to ensure that no child is left to navigate the complex immigration system alone. Jennifer joined the North Suburban Legal Aid Clinic, built the immigration law practice and served as its first Director, developing the capacity to represent Dreamers, domestic violence survivors, and low-income residents of the community with family-based petitions and cases involving victims of severe crime. Jennifer served as a board member of the Glenview Education Foundation and is also a member of the Social Justice Committee of Northfield’s Temple Jeremiah and an active supporter of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Jennifer earned her Bachelor’s degree from Indiana University, her law degree from Loyola University Chicago School of Law, and her Masters in Law from Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law.

  • Panelist Avatar
    Patricia Nguyen


    Patricia Nguyen is an artist, educator, and scholar born and raised in Chicago, Illinois. She is currently Director of Undergraduate Studies and Assistant Professor in Asian American Studies at Northwestern University, where she received her Ph.D. in Performance Studies. Patricia has over 15 years of experience working in arts education, community development, and human rights in the United States and Vietnam. She has facilitated trainings and workshops with The Fulbright Program, Chicago Humanities Festival, Jane Addams Hull House, Social Workers Association in Vietnam, Vietnamese American Young Leadership Association in New Orleans (VAYLA‐NO), Asian Human Services, Kuumba Lynx, Prison + Neighborhood Arts Project, and 96 Acres on abolition, forced migration, mental health, youth empowerment, and language access. She is also the co-founder of Axis Lab, a community centered art, food, and design studio based in Uptown, Chicago that focuses on equitable development for immigrants and refugees. In recent news, Dr. Nguyen is an award-winning memorial designer for the Chicago Torture Justice Memorial Project, the first monument in the United States to honor survivors of police violence.

  • Panelist Avatar
    Andy Kang


    Andy Kang is Executive Director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago. Andy joined Advancing Justice | Chicago in 2011 after serving as a staff attorney at the Legislative Reference Bureau, a non-partisan State agency that provides legal advice to the Illinois General Assembly regarding the drafting of legislation. Andy has practiced law in Chicago and Boston and was co-founder and President of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders for Clark, a national grass-roots organization that mobilized support for former presidential candidate General Wesley Clark (Ret.). During his tenure with Advancing Justice | Chicago, Andy served as one of the lead negotiators for the Illinois TRUST Act and co-led the successful advocacy effort to bring Automatic Voter Registration to Illinois; both were signed into law in 2017. Andy also co-led successful efforts to strengthen Chicago’s Welcoming City Ordinance to prohibit all city employees, including Chicago police officers, from questioning an individual’s immigration status or threatening deportation against an individual or their family. In the area of protecting voting rights, Andy has actively served on the steering committee of the Just Democracy Illinois coalition and oversees Advancing Justice | Chicago’s non-partisan poll monitoring operation in Illinois, which has led to improving language assistance for voters in the Chinese American, South Asian American, and Korean American communities in Cook County. Andy is a thought leader in the area of language access, previously participating in the Language Access Advisory Council of the City of Chicago’s Office of New Americans, and working with the State of Illinois’ Language Access to Government Services Task Force. Andy currently is a board member of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights and serves as co-chair of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association’s immigration committee, and co-chair of Forefront’s policy committee. He is also an advisory board member of the Korean American Bar Association of Chicago, and a member of the Asian American advisory council of University of Illinois at Chicago. Andy was a 2018 Leadership Greater Chicago Fellow and has previously served on the City of Chicago’s Commission on Human Relations, and the Asian American Bar Association of Greater Chicago’s advisory board. Andy received his J.D. from Northwestern University School of Law, where he was Chair of the Diversity Coalition and an active member of the Asian Pacific American Law Students Association, and his B.A. in Political Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

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  • Panelist Avatar


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The views and opinions expressed in this online screening are those of the presenters and participants, and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of ITVS, public broadcasting, or any entities hosting the screening.