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Chico State

CSU, Chico to Host Screenings and Discussions of ‘American Creed’

Elementary school students stand in a classroom with their hands over their hearts as they recite the Pledge of Allegiance.
Photo courtesy of American Creed

What does it mean to be American?

That’s the question filmmakers investigate in the documentary “American Creed,” which is being screened next week on multiple nights at locations around Butte County, including twice on the California State University, Chico campus.

Sponsored by KIXE, the League of Women Voters of Butte County, Butte County Library, Chico Area Interfaith Council, the University’s Office of Civic Engagement and the Meriam Library, screenings of the 56-minute film will take place at the following locations, each time followed by a facilitated discussion:

  • Monday, April 15 at 5 p.m. in CSU, Chico’s Bell Memorial Union, Room 203
  • Tuesday, April 17 at 6 p.m. at both the Chico Branch and the Oroville Branch of the Butte County Library
  • Thursday, April 18 at 6:30 p.m. in CSU, Chico’s Colusa Hall, Room 100A

In “American Creed,” former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Pulitzer Prize-winning historian David M. Kenney come together from different points of view to explore the idea of a unifying American creed. Their spirited inquiry frames the stories of citizen-activists striving to realize their own visions of America’s promise across deepening divides.

“Drs. Rice and Kennedy, while coming from different political viewpoints, determined a documentary film would be the best way to engage the country in a bold national conversation about American ideals, identities, and responsibilities,” said Jack Sample, the film’s assistant producer, “determined a documentary film would be the best way to engage the country in a bold national conversation about American ideals, identities, and responsibilities.”

From Chicago Cubs’ manager Joe Maddon bringing residents of his Pennsylvania coal country hometown together after a controversial immigrant ordination to Marine Sergeant Tegan Griffith, from rural Wisconsin, bringing fellow veterans together to reflect what holds us together as a nation to filming at three different American high schools, “American Creed” explores national ideals and identities from diverse points of view.

Sample said the “aspirational narrative” is part of the story of every American—“whether they’re accomplished or striving, wealthy or marginalized, or from the Upper East Side or Lower Ninth Ward.”

“Engaging with this idea in community is a useful first step in reaffirming our sense of shared heritage and responsibility as citizens of the United States,” Sample said.

The post-screening conversations at CSU, Chico will be facilitated by Kim Jaxon, from the Department of English, and Matthew Thomas, from the Department of Political Science and Criminal Justice.

Thomas noted that the post-screening discussions are vital because as members of a polarized society, it is important to seek answers about what unites us as Americans and to question whether there was actually a time when we were united.

“Conversations of this nature are more likely to be successful when they are done in the local community, in a face-to-face setting,” Thomas said. “We are hoping for an open-ended, friendly and respectful conversation across differences.” Those who require an accommodation in order to view “American Creed” or who have questions about accessibility may contact the Accessibility Resource Center at 530-898-5959.