Beyond Housing Featured in New Documentary from Nine PBS

Rebuilding the Dream is a story of people coming together to overcome adversity and decades of decline—and a film that all of St. Louis and America need to see.

Followers of Beyond Housing and the organization’s Once and for All effort are certainly familiar with the 24:1 Community—an area comprised of multiple municipalities within the Normandy Schools Collaborative in North St. Louis County. It’s one thing to read about a community. But you don’t really know a place until you spend time there, learn its history, and meet the people who call it home.

On Thursday, June 20, at the 24:1 Cinema in Pagedale, roughly 250 people filled the four theaters to watch the premiere of Rebuilding the Dream. The film began airing on Nine PBS on Monday, June 24.

Beyond Housing donors and Nine PBS guests had the opportunity to get up close and personal with the 24:1 Community and were joined by leaders and staff of both organizations, along with residents and leaders of the 24:1 Community who got to see themselves on the big screen (see the trailer for the film below).

President and CEO of Nine PBS Amy Shaw and Frank Popper, one of the film’s directors, kicked off the premiere with some opening remarks. Shaw described the film’s production as a labor of love akin to “birthing an elephant” as Nine PBS steadily but surely brought the project to life over the course of two years.

The film documents the struggles and triumphs of the greater community and personal stories and insights from many residents, civic leaders, and Beyond Housing staff, including Mayor of Vinita Park James McGee, Phillip “Hat Man” Barry, Alice Wilson, Frondel Green, Rita Heard Days, Shai Frazier, Doug Seely, and Shalonda Webb to name a few. The story is a testament to what can be achieved when people work together for the common good—and one for the greater St. Louis region to follow.

In the film, Todd Swanston of the University of Missouri-St. Louis and Darrel Hudson of Washington University in St. Louis provide additional context—from the history of the community to the leading-edge work that is taking place.

Toward the end, Beyond Housing CEO Krehmeyer says he believes people have grown weary of all these problems and desperately want to see these problems resolved. “People want something to be proud of our region besides our beloved baseball team and other things which are good to have but do not propel the region forward.”

Pamela Westbrooks-Hodge of the Missouri State Board of Education closed the film with a poignant synopsis. “The story of Normandy is the story of America, the story of a once all-white community that in the ’50s was impacted by flight and redlining, segregation, and business disinvestment,” she says. “Literally, this story plays out all across our nation. And if we don’t find a way to uplift everyone, we’re really looking at the slow demise of our country.”

A panel discussion featuring Chris Krehmeyer, James McGee, Pamela Westbrooks-Hodge, and moderated by Nine PBS Senior Producer Ruth Ezell concluded the evening.

Be sure to watch Rebuilding the Dream on Nine PBS.

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