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Images & Voices of Hope | December 2, 2020

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Join us for a Restorative Narrative film screening in Miami

Join us for a Restorative Narrative film screening in Miami

A still from  “Liberty Square: Power, History, and Race in Miami.” Courtesy of Moses Shumow. 




Later this month, the University of Miami will host a screening of Moses Shumow’s documentary, “Liberty Square: Power, History, and Race in Miami,. The screening, which will be held from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 21, will be followed by a Q&A featuring Shumow and invited experts and moderated by ivoh core team member Meredith Porte.

Shumow produced the film during his time as a 2016 Images and Voices of Hope Restorative Narrative fellow. The documentary focuses on the history, people, changing structure and socioeconomic struggles of Liberty Square, one of the country’s oldest public housing developments located in Miami’s Liberty City.

The ivoh fellowship enabled Shumow “to produce a documentary film about the rich history and legacy of this community, as well as what its future might hold,” he said on the Liberty Square Rising site.



The documentary features a wide range of interviews with current and former residents of the Liberty Square. As a Restorative Narrative, the film moves beyond stereotypical media narratives of crime and violence to tell untold stories of Liberty Square.

The area has recently gained buzz due to the Oscar-winning film, “Moonlight,” which is set in Liberty City. In a recent Miami Herald article about Liberty City and “Moonlight,” Shumow shared how films can help shape perceptions.

“A lot of people’s impressions of Liberty City is that it’s a scary place full of drug dealers and gangs and murders,” Shumow said. “‘Moonlight’ helps shift that narrative a little bit. That’s not to say it’s an uplifting film about a wonderful community these kids live in. It’s pretty truthful in its portrayal of how hard life is there. But there’s a humanity there that doesn’t come across when you watch the nightly news. It could make some kids from the community think that filmmaking could possibly be for them.”

After the 2015 announcement that Liberty Square would undergo a $307 million redevelopment project, Shumow set out to capture narratives of the neighborhood. Shumow and his students began the project known as “Liberty Square Rising,” which would develop into the foundation for the documentary, “Liberty Square: Power, History, and Race in Miami.”

“It’s going to be a completely different community,” Shumow told the Miami Herald. “The magic and the sadness and everything that place holds will be gone in a few years. Liberty Square is so colorful, you can’t help but be inspired by the beauty of it. But then you juxtapose that with the severe endemic poverty and everything that comes with it. ‘Moonlight’ helps to cement that history, which is important.”

In addition to completing his documentary, as an ivoh fellow Shumow organized community conversations in Liberty Square. As digital media faculty in the School of Communication and Journalism at Florida International University, Shumow has continuously created opportunities for students to work on digital storytelling projects with the Liberty Square community.

When ivoh asked Shumow what advice he’d offer media practitioners who want to tell Restorative Narratives, Shumow said: “Stay committed. Believe in your story and your ability to tell it. Constantly question your approach and why you have chosen it. Be true to both the narrative you are crafting and the people or communities whose story you are telling.”

Liberty Square: History, Power and Race in Miami”  premiered in December at the Liberty City Community Center. To sign up for this month’s screening, visit this link: The screening is free and open to the public.

Learn more about the screening and “Liberty Square: Power, History, and Race in Miami” here.


Related: ivoh fellow Moses Shumow screens ‘Liberty Square: Power, History, and Race in Miami’ | Meet Moses Shumow: ivoh fellow capturing untold stories in Liberty City, Miami | ivoh highlights from 2016 | Transforming news of violence into stories of resilience | 11 guiding questions for media practitioners pursuing Restorative Narratives