Environmental Justice Film Opens Foundation’s 25th Year

The Northern New Jersey Community Foundation (NNJCF) celebrates its 25th anniversary with a screening of the environmental justice documentary film ‘American River‘.  See this inspiring, entertaining film about the troubled Passaic River.  The screening takes place on Wednesday, June 7 at the Hackensack Performing Arts Center (HACPAC), located at 102 State Street in Hackensack, New Jersey. The doors open at 5:45 p.m.  Watch the film from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Purchase tickets for $15 each online.

The documentary film, 'American River', discusses the evolution of the Passaic River, an Environmental Justice story. Photo Credit: Scott Morris Productions

The film, American River, tells the evolution of the Passaic River, an environmental justice story. Photo Credit: Scott Morris Productions

This well-received film tells a story about the evolution of the Passaic River.  “A fantastic voyage through America’s past and present, from its breathtaking, unspoiled beginnings to its growth as a global industrial power – all along a frequently overlooked river.”

Bill Westhoven, Reporter, USA Today

The NNJCF leads efforts to address stormwater flooding and also the impacts of climate change along the Hackensack River and in the City of Hackensack. In addition, with this screening, the Foundation seeks to inspire ideas for the city’s hometown river and to help launch the Hackensack River Nation initiative.

Environmental Justice Explored

The film explores the Passaic River through community members’ stories. New Jersey native Mary Bruno spent her childhood along this river, one of the most polluted waterways in America. Decades later, Bruno returned to kayak with her guide Carl Alderson.  They went on a four-day, 80 mile adventure down the Passaic River. Their trip spanned from the river’s pristine source in a wildlife refuge to its toxic mouth in Newark Bay. Furthermore, the river’s amazing history, geology and ecology reveal themselves.  They navigate challenges, travel through urban landscapes and head towards the industrial disaster that poisoned the Passaic for the past 60 years.

Kayakers Mary Bruno and guide Carl Alderson go past a building with graffiti situated along the Passaic River in the film, American River, a discussion of environmental justice. Photo Credit: Scott Morris Productions

Kayakers Mary Bruno and guide Carl Alderson go past a building with graffiti situated along the Passaic River. Photo Credit: Scott Morris Productions

Along the way, the filmmakers engage residents, historians and also advocates in conversations eliciting insight, urgency and a sense of wonder to this environmental justice story. How did the Passaic become one of the most contaminated rivers in America? Furthermore, can it be saved? The Passaic also became an archetype for thousands of rivers across America facing similar reckonings.

Talk Back and Reception

After the film presentation, a talk back session takes place with producer Scott Morris and Hackensack Riverkeeper’s Captain Bill Sheehan. In addition, the NNJCF invites the public to attend and discuss how the communities surrounding the Hackensack River can be greener, healthier, and connect residents to their hometown river.

The Northern New Jersey Community Foundation also plans to provide information about its environmental justice and protection programs.  Furthermore, opportunities for the public to be involved will be discussed. A reception follows in the HACPAC’s art gallery.

The proceeds from ticket purchases support the NNJCF and its work to address environmental protection.  Ticket purchases also support the foundation’s work in environmental justice and in building collaborations to address other pressing issues affecting communities in North Jersey. Visions Federal Credit Union and Cullari Carrico are sponsors for the program. Furthermore, to become a sponsor, contact NNJCF’s Executive Director, Leonardo Vazquez, at leo@nnjcf.org.

Contact the NNJCF for more information about this event at nnjcf@nnjcf.org or call 201-568-5608. Information about the film is available on its website.

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