‘American Creed’ Documentary Kicks Off Local Community Conversations

In a seemingly fractured nation, what ideals do Americans share in common? To find out, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian David M. Kennedy teams up with former US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice for American Creed, a cross-partisan documentary that showcases stories of activists striving to realize America’s promise across deep divides:

  • Joan Blades, founder of MoveOn.org, and Mark Meckler, co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots, form an unexpected bond.
  • Baseball manager Joe Maddon becomes a civic activist after a controversial immigration ordinance is passed in his Pennsylvania coal country hometown.
  • Deidre Prevett, a school principal in Oklahoma, fights for low-income children.
  • US Marine Tegan Griffith advocates for fellow veterans in Wisconsin.
  • Author Junot Diaz makes the case for public institutions like the New Jersey library where he learned to become a writer.
  • Based in Seattle, Eric Liu creates new civic rituals and brings community leaders together across divides.
  • Entrepreneurs Leila Janah and Terrence Davenport create economic opportunity in the Arkansas Delta where the legacy of slavery and sharecropping persists.

American Creed airs Tuesday, Feb. 27, at 9 PM on Idaho Public Television.


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In the weeks leading up to the documentary broadcast, Idaho Public Television and partners the Idaho Statesman and the Boise State University Center for Idaho History and Politics are organizing two public screenings of clips from American Creed that will include panel discussions on topics that affect Idahoans.

“Civil Discourse in the Western States” – Thursday, Feb. 15, at 5:15 PM in the Lincoln Auditorium at the State Capitol in Boise. (The event is FREE, but please register.)

Bill Manny of the Idaho Statesman will moderate a panel focusing on Idaho efforts to build consensus and seek common ground on some of the West’s thorny lands issues, an area of collaboration where Idaho has set an example for the nation.

When it comes to forest management, controversies about forest fires, litigation, clear-cuts and agency gridlock often dominate the headlines. But behind the scenes, Idahoans are writing several success stories that don’t often get as much attention. That’s a shame, because when the timber industry, conservationists and others work together, the results are good for Idaho. For too long organizations have been at odds as to what to do.

But times change. Changes in forest health, rural economies, climate, wildfire size and frequency, and declining Forest Service budgets meant neither timber sales nor restoration projects were happening. It seemed that the Forest Service was having a difficult time getting things done, and neither group could jump-start things on their own. This is where learning how to bridge the divide and how to discuss the issues move organizations from being at odds with each other to seeing common solutions.

The discussion will explore how people in Idaho build consensus and seek common ground on some of the West’s thorniest issues. It will feature a conversation with Mac Lefebvre of Grangeville, a procurement forester with Idaho Forest Group; and John Robison of Boise, public lands director for the Idaho Conservation League. Mac and John are two of the participants in the Payette Forest Coalition, which has helped design forest restoration projects with the Forest Service, the industry and the environmental community that have produced timber for local sawmills, jobs for Idaho workers, and improved health and habitat for Idaho fish and forests.


“DACA and the Magic Valley” – Wednesday, Feb. 21, at 5:30 PM in the Rick Allen Room at the Herrett Center for Arts and Science (College of Southern Idaho) in Twin Falls. (The event is FREE, but please register.)

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA) is scheduled to be phased out on March 5. As the rhetoric about the program heats up once again, can communities with undocumented residents have civil, productive conversations about the issue?

Building off the themes of a new PBS documentary, American Creed, IdahoPTV host Marcia Franklin will moderate a discussion at the College of Southern Idaho (CSI) in Twin Falls about ways to bridge the divide over the often-contentious issue of immigration. The evening will also include the screening of clips from American Creed.

Panelists include:

  • Idaho Rep. Lance Clow (R-24)
  • Cesar Perez, Associate Dean of Extended Studies, CSI
  • Laura Prado, CSI student.

Food will be served at 5:30 PM and the program will begin at 6:00.


IdahoPTV will also present clips from American Creed during the Boise State University Civility Symposium scheduled for Wednesday, March 14, at Boise State University. The conference will explore civility and civic literacy.

We invite you to watch American Creed, join in the conversation on Facebook, and RSVP here for one of the events in your area.

American Creed was co-produced by Citizen Film and WTTW – Chicago PBS with major support from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.


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