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New documentary explores art as a tool to advance racial equity and economic justice

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BeGreat Together's youth volunteers paint murals in alleyways of Kansas City, Kansas.
Courtesy of Avrell Stokes
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BeGreat Together's youth volunteers paint murals in alleyways of Kansas City, Kansas.

“Art and Advocacy” is one of four, 60-minute documentaries that will be released by a group called DocuCourse. The films aim to provide practical ways to advance communities.

A talented and powerful voice in the Kansas City, Kansas, community, Diosselyn Tot-Velasquez is now featured in a new documentary "Changemaker's Story: Art & Advocacy."

The film follows Tot-Velasquez, who recruits young volunteers to paint murals in Kansas City, Kansas. It highlights her work and impact, such as converting an abandoned gas station into Urban Station, where young people take art classes and learn how to advocate for their community.

Avrell Stokes, co-founder of BeGreat Together and creator of the DocuCourse project to tell community stories that inspire community change, said the decision to feature Tot-Velasquez for this project wasn't up to him, it was up to the community.

"Our partners are doing all of this amazing work and so with that, we actually identified people and we do a community assessment," Stokes said. "It's reaching out to different individuals and organizations throughout the community asking who we ought to be focusing on exactly, and who's inspiring you and your community?"

To view the trailer, receive updates, and tune in, visit www.docucourse.org.

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When I host Up To Date each morning at 9 a.m., my aim is to engage the community in conversations about the Kansas City area’s challenges, hopes and opportunities. I try to ask the questions that listeners want answered about the day’s most pressing issues and provide a place for residents to engage directly with newsmakers. My email is steve@kcur.org.
Reginald David is an assistant producer with Up To Date. You can reach him at reginalddavid@kcur.org.
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