Gayla Jamison, director (Lightfoot Films, 2015)
Joint session with the Peace History Society
In Our Son’s Nameis an intimate portrait of Phyllis and Orlando Rodríguez, whose son, Greg, dies in the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. The bereaved parents choose reconciliation and nonviolence over vengeance and begin a transformative journey that both confirms and challenges their convictions. They speak out against war in Iraq and Afghanistan, publicly oppose the death penalty of avowed 9/11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui, and befriend his mother. As their search for meaning evolves they speak out against anti-Muslim actions and find peace in working with prison inmates.
This documentary has been featured at numerous film festivals around the world, and was awarded the Bronze prize at the Social Justice film festival (to see the trailer, go to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tu0DM1yb8OY).
This experimental panel will combine a screening of the film (56 minutes) with an hour of discussion, including short (ca. 5 minutes each) presentations by the panelists and a Q & A session with the audience (30 minutes). The five panelists will each discuss the film from a specific angle, informed by their expertise. Panelists are:
Lisa McGirr (Harvard), Chair and comment; expert on 20th century U.S. criminal justice and 9/11 in international perspective.
Gayla Jamison (Lightfoot Films), director of In Our Son’s Name; Ms. Jamison will speak to the filmmaking process; the role of oral history in recounting significant historical events; and
Julia Rodriguez (University of New Hampshire), historian and the Rodriguez’s surviving daughter; Rodriguez will answer questions about the personal story behind the film; her own experiences advocating for victims of violence; as well as her classroom strategies for teaching about terrorism and human rights.
Jeremy Varon (New School), historian; Varon will speak to the post-9/11 War on Terror, including activism around Guantánamo naval base and the U.S. torture program.
Naureen Shah (Amnesty International USA), security and human rights expert; Shah will speak to the global responses and responsiblities in the current moment.
Panelists will contextualize the Rodriguez family’s personal narrative as depicted in the film in terms of: the events of 9/11; aftermath of the War on Terror; human rights, torture, and Guantánamo; the peace movement after 9/11; and the movement for restorative justice. The process of engaged historical filmmaking will also be discussed, as well as possibilities for classroom and public history use. Copies of the film’s study guide will be provided as well.