How do we change the world around us when inequality can be found right outside our doorstep? Or even hundreds of miles away in a country we’ve never visited? Through the strength found in our collective communities. By sharing struggles and celebrating victories, unifying our voices makes it possible to find the best way forward. While one story may be overlooked, when we come together to honor individual differences and work towards a common goal, real change can begin.
This month, WORLD Channel praises the diversity of communities within our own neighborhoods and around the globe. In ‘Sapelo,’ the Saltwater Geechee on Georgia’s Sapelo Island work to preserve their ancestry as they are confronted by land developers; in a new season of AfroPoP: The Ultimate Cultural Exchange, people of the African diaspora – from Tunisia, Kisangani and Sudan to Europe and the United States – fight for representation and restitution to both right past wrongs and move towards a just future; and four new films from Pacific Heartbeat explore the importance of connection among Pacific Islanders and their communities.
In April, we also recognize Arab American Heritage Month and Ramadan, celebrating a strong community within pockets of the U.S. with films like ‘Brooklyn Inshallah,’ which spotlights the political campaign of Father Khader El-Yateem in New York City.
No matter the locale or scale, one thing is certain: the ability to unite and create impactful change together is why a community is more than just one person.
Connected: A Search for Unity
Saturdays starting April 2 on TV | Available on PBS Passport
Monty Moran, former CEO of Chipotle Mexican Grill, travels to five communities to explore the connections that unite people who come from very different backgrounds, and reveals a common struggle to find meaning and purpose. In this series, Moran asks if there is room for a culture of connection to grow and flourish in a world where many idealize all the things that divide us.
The Great Famine | American Experience
April 2 on TV
The little-known story of the American effort to relieve starvation in the new Soviet Russia in 1921, The Great Famine is a documentary about the worst natural disaster in Europe since the Black Plague in the Middle Ages. Half a world away, Americans responded with a massive two-year relief campaign, championed by Herbert Hoover, director of the American Relief Administration known as the ARA.
High Tide, Don't Hide | Pacific Heartbeat
April 4 on TV, online and on the PBS app
In 2019, students in more than 150 countries launched strikes to demand action to avert cataclysmic climate change. In Aotearoa, New Zealand, The Rebel Film Collective started shooting seven months before what became the world’s largest climate change strike, documenting how the local movement began, weaving the stories of five teenagers as they lead their communities to strike for climate change.
Everything: The Real Story | AfroPoP: The Ultimate Cultural Exchange
April 4 on TV, online and on the YouTube & PBS apps
Follow the soul and funk band, The Real Thing, who were dubbed “The Black Beatles,” as they broke barriers while navigating discrimination and the pitfalls of stardom. The film features surviving members and recording artists reflecting on the importance of the pioneering group to music.
Fish Out of Water | Stories from the Stage
April 4 on TV, online and on the Facebook, YouTube & PBS apps
At one point in our lives, we all walk, run, or stumble into the unknown. And it can be a struggle to make sense of this world in which you don't quite belong. Shweta Bhatt discovers that changing one's appearance to fit in has its drawbacks; Jenny Herzog tries her hand at tap dancing to get over the pandemic blues; and Carol Carson, who struggled through high school, tries to find a college where she’ll fit in. Hosted by Theresa Okokon.
A Reckoning in Boston | Independent Lens
April 6 on TV
What happens when you discover that your assumptions are flawed? A white filmmaker starts his academic inquiry by documenting low-income, adult students of color at the Clemente Course in Boston. Over time, he comes to terms with his own complicity in racism. Alongside the students, a unique filmmaking collaboration forms to explore the area’s history of racism and gentrification.
Sapelo | America ReFramed
April 7 on TV, online & on the PBS app
On the barrier island of Sapelo off the coast of Georgia, two brothers, JerMarkest and Johnathan, are growing up in the last remaining enclave of the Saltwater Geechee people. Their greatest joy is exploring the island like their adoptive mother, Cornelia Walker Bailey, did as a child. As Sapelo’s storyteller and elder matriarch, Cornelia works to preserve what remains of her African-American community as it is encroached upon and transformed by outside property developers.
Articulate with Jim Cotter
Sundays starting April 10 on TV, online & on the PBS app
The series invites audiences to make the acquaintance of Broadway and major stage luminaries, to consider the experience of immigrant authors with feet in two worlds, and to experience intimate performances by celebrated musicians. Guests include nonfiction writer Susan Orlean; rock band The Killers; landscape designer, public artist, and urbanist Sarah Zewde; and composer and lyricist Stephen Schwartz.
James & Isey | Pacific Heartbeat
April 11 on TV, online & on the PBS app
Ngāti Manu woman Isey Cross lives with her youngest son, James, on a farm in Kawakawa, a small town on New Zealand’s North Island. Cheeky and vivacious, the 99-year-old is preparing to celebrate her centenary with the party of a lifetime. Over the next seven days, as James organizes the festivities, the film captures their devoted bond, to each other and to the spirit world, as well as their infectious aroha – love.
She Had a Dream | AfroPoP: The Ultimate Cultural Exchange
April 11 on TV, online and on the YouTube & PBS apps
A young Black Tunisian woman, Ghofrane is an activist who speaks her mind. SHE HAD A DREAM follows her path into politics, revealing the many faces of a country seeking to forge a new identity. In its own unique way, the film shines a light on the often insurmountable prejudices faced by Black women.
A Perfect Match | Stories from the Stage
April 11 on TV, online and on the Facebook, YouTube & PBS apps
Searching and finding the right match – whether forged, challenged, lost or kept - is not always easy. Carla Katz battles bureaucracy to bury her mother alongside her father; Andy Davis experiences a new way to relate to his identical twin; and Valerie Gagliano connects a deceased donor with someone in need of a new liver. Hosted by Theresa Okokon.
Loimata, The Sweetest Tears | Pacific Heartbeat
April 18 on TV, online & on the PBS app
Filmmaker Anna Marbrook takes her friend Lilo Ema Siope, an extraordinary ocean-going waka captain, on an emotional healing journey in the last months of her life. Strongly tied to Ema’s Samoan culture, the compassionate film is an intimate exploration of a family shattered by shame but working courageously to liberate themselves from the shackles of the past.
Downstream to Kinshasa | AfroPoP: The Ultimate Cultural Exchange
April 18 on TV, online and on the YouTube & PBS apps
In 2000, thousands in Kisangani were killed or injured. The surviving victims of the Six-Day War – all living with permanent injuries or amputations – have since been fighting for recognition and compensation. Tired of unsuccessful pleas, they embark on a journey to voice their claims in Kinshasa.
First | Stories from the Stage
April 18 on TV, online and on the Facebook, YouTube & PBS apps
There is a first time for everything. In many cases, firsts are game changers, becoming unforgettable lessons for life. Erin Baker navigates her first steps into puberty; Dyan deNapoli’s first encounter with a penguin takes her halfway across the globe; and Ali Abdullatif’s dad helps ease the pain of his first car accident. Hosted by Wes Hazard.
The Power of Big Oil | Frontline
April 20 (Part 1), April 27 (Part 2) and May 3 (Part 3) on TV & on the PBS app
Tracing the fossil fuel industry's history of delaying action on climate change and the ongoing attempts to hold Big Oil accountable.
Restitution? Africa's Fight for Its Art | AfroPoP: The Ultimate Cultural Exchange
April 25 on TV, online & on the YouTube & PBS apps
RESTITUTION? recounts the story of the African artwork looted by colonizers and that fill European museums today, and whose return is now being demanded by their countries of origin. The film invites us to reconsider our cultural heritage and museums’ role in reinventing our relationship with Africa.
One Way or Another | Stories from the Stage
April 25 on TV, online & on the Facebook, YouTube & PBS apps
In this milestone 100th episode, storytellers share how dealing with challenges showed them strengths they never knew they had. Brandon Kazen-Maddox bridges the gap between his deaf grandma and a police officer using American sign language; a miniature marshmallow and a severe allergic reaction turn Sara Kaminski’s family vacation upside down; and Jeff Belanger takes on Mt. Kilimanjaro to raise money for cancer research and catch a glimpse of himself. Hosted by Theresa Okokon.
My Louisiana Love | America ReFramed
April 14 on TV, online & on the PBS app | Available now on PBS Passport
When Monique Verdin returns to Southeast Louisiana to reunite with Houma Indian family, she sees that the traditional way of life is threatened by a cycle of man-made environmental crises. Hurricane Katrina and the BP oil leak are just the latest rounds forcing her clan to adapt in new ways. Monique must overcome the loss of her house, her father and her partner, and redefine the meaning of home.
Jasper Mall | Reel South
Available online & on the PBS app
A dying shopping mall outside of Birmingham, Alabama, its patrons, and its tenants embody the diversity and tenderness of Americana culture in a changing South.
Brooklyn Inshallah | America ReFramed
Available online & on the PBS app
Father Khader El-Yateem, a Palestinian American Pastor and longtime resident of Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, launches a campaign for a seat on the city council. To win, Father El-Yateem and his team will have to overcome many campaign hurdles including: voter misinformation, language barriers at the polls, and outright prejudice. If he wins, he would be New York City's first Arab American councilman.
The Australian Dream | Pacific Heartbeat
April 25 on TV, online and on the PBS app
Unraveling the remarkable and inspirational story of Indigenous Australian Football League legend Adam Goodes to tell a deeper and more powerful story about race, identity and belonging. The film unpacks the events of the 2013-15 AFL seasons and asks fundamental questions about racism and discrimination in society today.
The Seven Generation River | Local, USA
Available online on the PBS app through April 21
In a time when America’s natural resources are caught in the crossfire of deep divisions between Americans, the Pokagon Band of the Potawatomi Indians from the southwest corner of the Great Lakes might hold the key to healing our divisions, healing nature and healing ourselves. For the Pokagon, water is sacred. The Pokagon are leading a major cultural preservation and environmental restoration effort in order to pave the way for the next seven generations.
Kivalina | America ReFramed
April 21 on TV, online & on the PBS app
In this quiet but stirring portrait of an ancient Arctic culture and its modern descendants, the Inupiaq Eskimo people of Kivalina, Alaska must navigate an uncertain future 80 miles above the Arctic Circle on a fragile barrier island disappearing due to climate change. Filmed over five years, this observational portrait immerses viewers into the rarely seen, daily lives of an Arctic tribe who try to continue to honor their way of life despite a deteriorating landscape and a government that is failing them.
Greta Thunberg: A Year to Change the World
Available on PBS Passport
This revealing series follows Greta Thunberg as she steps from behind the podium and onto the front lines. Over the course of the three episodes, Greta explores the science as she travels to extraordinary locations across the globe, meeting leading climate scientists, witnessing first hand the consequences of climate change and confronting the complexity of what is required to make change happen.
Discuss and engage with us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter by using the hashtags #Community and #CelebrateDiversity and tagging us @worldchannel. Subscribe to our newsletter and YouTube for more features including events and interviews.
Enjoy our content? Consider donating to keep important storytelling like this going, and find more on PBS Passport.