Ambassador Díaz greets Pontifical Salesian University Professor Tadek Lewicki after the film
22 February 2010
Film for African-American History Shows Modern Struggles, Hope
On February 22nd, the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See and the Lay Centre co-hosted a film screening of the PBS documentary Legacy as part of the month’s events to commemorate African-American history. The U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See, Miguel Díaz, and the U.S. Ambassador to the UN Agencies in Rome, Ertharin Cousin, led discussions after the film about the history and present-day realities of living in the United States for African-Americans.
Over a period of five years, the documentary film recorded the life of a family of three generations of African-American women living in an impoverished housing project in Chicago. Following the tragic shooting death of one family member, the rest of the family pull together to overcome the odds of poverty, a lack of education and a neighborhood riddled with drugs and crime, to create a better life for themselves.
Ambassador Cousin, who is from Chicago, pointed out that the movie emphasized two factors as being important for overcoming obstacles in life: family and religion. She also underlined the important role of the Catholic schools in helping some of the most vulnerable in the inner-cities to improve their lot. Ambassador Díaz noted that the documentary had a theme of “hope.” He stated that the film showed that no matter how hard life was for the family, they never gave up hope that their lives could one day be better.
Over 40 people attended the event. Among these were students from Rome’s major Pontifical Universities, professors, and officials from the Vatican Curia, hailing from countries as diverse as India, Cameroon, and Uganda.
The Lay Centre is a Rome-based foundation to support the formation of Catholic laity, especially lay students in Rome.
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U.S. Ambassador to the UN Agencies in Rome, Ertharin Cousin
The Lay Centre’s Director, Donna Orsuto