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Lee Hirsch, award-winning director of "Amandla"


SIOUX CITY, IA - July 14, 2009 -- The Waitt Institute for Violence Prevention and United Way of Siouxland will host a luncheon with school administrators, activists and students at 11:30 a.m. Thursday at Kahill's to discuss and review a five-year violence and bullying prevention project in the Sioux City School District and the community.

Goals of the "Sioux City Project," started in 2006, are to increase the number of adults who talk to youth about violence, increase the number of students who think violence and bullying are wrong, increase the number of students who take action against violence and bullying and to decrease the number of violent and bullying incidents occurring in school.

Cindy Waitt of the Waitt Institute for Violence Prevention said, "I think itís incredible that the project is drawing attention not only across the state, but nationwide. The goal was to have one of the most concentrated cities in the country in violence prevention and measure those programs and initiatives over time.

"Sioux Cityís efforts are being noticed. Itís due to the hard work of the United Way committees, school administrators, activists, teachers, coaches and, most importantly, the students, that we are beginning to be able to tell the story to a larger audience," Waitt stated..

Speaking at the luncheon will be Dr. Alan Heisterkamp and Cindy Waitt of the Waitt Institute, Tim Stiles of United Way, Dr. LuAnn Richardson, director of secondary education for Sioux City schools, and Dr. Michael Fleming of the University of Northern Iowa and a research partner of the Waitt Institute. Sioux City School Superintendent Dr. Paul Gausman will also be in attendance.

Introduced at the luncheon will be New York- based documentary film makers Lee Hirsch and Cynthia Lowen. Hirschís film, "Amandla," won awards at Sundance and an Emmy Award. Lowen is an award-winning poet, documentary film producer, writer, editor and researcher.

Hirsch and Lowen are exploring partnerships with the Sioux City School system for their upcoming documentary entitled "The Bully Project."

Waitt Institute
The Waitt Institute for Violence Prevention is a private operating foundation committed to breaking the cycle of violence in our homes and communities by focusing on violence prevention at the local and national level. Working with local and national partners, the Institute uses a community-based approach that involves key stakeholders as partners. More information is available at

Article reprinted from the Sioux City Journal