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Sarah Springer Examines Media’s Influence on How We Think
Monday, June 14, 2021


How does the media train our brains to think about ourselves? About minorities?

The Community Library’s latest Hemingway Writer-in-Residence Sarah Springer will discuss that as she examines how this conditioning affects our perceptions and treatment of each other and what it will take to change that during a free conversation at 6 p.m. Thursday, June 17, on the library lawn on 4th Street.

Springer, Emmy-nominated producer and documentary filmmaker, will be expanding on her 2020 TEDx presentation, “How to Become a True Agent of Change.” She co-presented that with women-in-film activist Naomi McDougall, who bought a home in Sun Valley after spending time here as a Hemingway Writer-in-Residence.

While here she is working on the pilot episode of “Khat Queens,” a TV series now in development with a major studio. The show draws on her family’s history in Ethiopia as it tells the stories of the women who run the second largest cash crop business in East Africa—a drug called khat. The series will follow the story of Khat Queen and her family as she struggles to maintain the business and seeks help from her daughter to take over the throne.

Women have become the breadwinners in the country, what with 80 percent of the male workforce addicted to drugs. Khat, a bitter tasting drug which is legal throughout most of Africa but illegal in Europe, is a stimulant drug that stills hunger pains. Many farmers in Ethiopia began growing khat after coffee prices fell.

“Her passions for storytelling and reimagining our society’s power structures so that they are more equitable are informed and inspiring,” said Martha Williams, the Library’s programs and education manager. “We’re eager for the community to hear what she has to share with us about dismantling oppressive systems and viewing our shared human journey with new eyes.”

Springer began her career at CNN where she reported and wrote stories about race and identity for Soledad O’Brien’s “In America” series. “She also has worked as a producer for ABC’s “Good Morning America,” CBS News/”60 Minutes” and Nike.

She is the co-creator of “Still Here,” an immersive experience that premiered at the Sundance Festival and was created in partnership with Al Jazeera Contrast. It focuses on 12 formerly incarcerated Black women and their triumph over generational trauma, mass incarceration, gentrification and abuse.

Springer teaches at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism and is co-founder of Advocates for Inclusion in Media, an organization that works to create safe environments for underrepresented people in the industry.

She will be in conversation with Diana Munoz, a 2021 graduate of Wood River High School where she was president of the school’s Amnesty International club and an ETC intern with The Advocates.  Munoz has been an intern with the Library as she looks forward to attending the College of Idaho.

Attendees are invited to bring a low-back lawn chair or blanket.

The Hemingway Writer-in-Residence program is part of the Library’s Hemingway Legacy Initiative. Which seeks to expand the humanities in Idaho. Since 019 it’s hosted screenwriters, poets, novelists, historians and musicians.

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