Witness it through their eyes.

Chicago’s Oak Park and River Forest High School’s (OPRF) student population encompasses a racial, economic and cultural mix that reflects the nation as a whole. Located in a mostly affluent, progressive suburb, the school attracts families of all races and means, many of whom make great sacrifices to secure their children a place there. But even in this diverse and liberal community, ensuring an educational experience that equally benefits all students poses challenges for the school’s dedicated and well-meaning teachers, administrators and parents.

In the multipart unscripted documentary series “America to Me,” Academy Award®-nominated filmmaker Steve James (Hoop Dreams, Life Itself) and his team follow a diverse selection of the school’s 3,400 students, including artists, athletes, scholars, underachievers and iconoclasts, to present an indelible account of their dreams, fears, triumphs and aspirations.

Posing complex and controversial questions, the film wrestles with crucial issues, including the effects of race and privilege on education as seen through the eyes of young Americans on the precipice of adulthood. Candid and relatable portraits of 12 students who are just beginning to come into their own provide moving insights into the teenage search for personal identity in today’s world.

Take action

Take action

America to Me opens the doors to a high school outside of Chicago, where students and teachers struggle to navigate crucial issues of race, identity, belonging and inclusion. They’re starting important conversations that need to be had. Join them by using the tools on this site to get your classroom, school, family and friends talking about what’s going on in your own community.

O yes, I say it plain, America never was America to me, and yet I swear this oath, America will be!

langston hughes

Real Talk leads to real action

The Real Talk guides offer ways to analyze, reflect and engage with each episode, helping viewers understand what inequitable systems and traditions look like and what structural change is. They weave together conversation starters, guided questions, activities, tools and strategies intended to ignite conversations that empower participants to take actions that disrupt everyday racism.


How to talk about race

America to Me in action

“America to Me” and the corresponding “Real Talk” discussion guides are used by educators, students and communities in all 50 states, guiding conversations about race and equity in education. Using storytelling to spread empathy and awareness, we can help change the way school ecosystems address equity both inside and outside the classroom. Click on the case studies below to see “America to Me: Real Talk” in action.

For educators

The America To Me campaign has spread over all 50 states in thousands of schools, reaching tens of thousands of educators, trainers, administrators and students. It has provoked debate and sparked change around areas of equity and inclusion in schools all across the country.

If you live in the U.S. or Canada and want to bring America To Me to your school or organization, you can license the series.

Poster for the series America to Me.
Steve James
Jeff Skoll, Diane Weyermann, Steve James, Justine Nagan, Gordon Quinn, Betsy Steinberg
Executive Producers
John Condne, Risé Sanders-Weir
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