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On America

On America: The Big Payback and Reparations



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Saturday, 5:00 pm EDT February 18, 2023

The Center for Fiction

The Center for Fiction and Color Farm Media (John Lewis: Good Trouble; Finding Tamika) present a screening of The Big Payback, a film about reparations for African Americans. The documentary follows Alderman Robin Rue Simmons’s fight to pass the first government-funded reparations program for Black Americans in Evanston, Illinois, alongside Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee as she leads a national movement. Featuring interviews with political figures including Simmons Lee, scholars on the subject like Ta-Nehisi Coates, and community members who support reparations and others who remain skeptical, the documentary highlights the legislative process toward restorative justice in a Chicago suburb and throughout the United States. Don’t miss this rich and lively exploration of a subject that historically evaded political action—until a small Chicago suburb and two fearless women challenged the status quo. Co-directors Erika Alexander and Whitney Dow will lead the audience in a community discussion directly after the screening.

Presented in partnership with Color Farm Media.

The Big Payback - Eliana Cohen-Orth

In Conversation

  • BIGPAYBACK_PubStills_Headshot_Erika - Eliana Cohen-Orth

    Erika Alexander

    Erika Alexander

    Erika Alexander is an actress and creator, making her directorial debut with The Big Payback, co-directed with Whitney Dow, which chronicles the story of the first reparations bill in American history for African Americans. She is a co-founder of Color Farm Media and serves as a board member for One Fair Wage and Exponent.

  • BIGPAYBACK_PubStills_Headshot_Whitney - Eliana Cohen-Orth

    Whitney Dow

    Whitney Dow

    Whitney Dow is an award-winning documentary filmmaker and educator, whose work has focused on race and identity for more than two decades. His directorial credits include I Sit Where I Want: The Legacy of Brown v. Board of Education, POV’s Two Towns of Jasper, and the Independent Lens documentaries When the Drum is Beating and The Big Payback.

  • Color Farm Media - Eliana Cohen-Orth