|Photo by Jon Gardiner/UNC-Chapel Hill|
Her talk was interspersed with clips from her Latino in America and Beyond Bravery: The Women of 9/11 documentaries highlighting how “uncomfortable conversations” could and should be opened and discussed. Her talk focused on the opportunity each and every individual has to spark social change.
“Every step forward toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering and struggle. What will be my service? To tell the stories of all Americans — whether they look like me or not, whether they agree with me or not — and seek to understand them and accurately reflect their stories.”
As with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., whom she described as a regular man who decided he would do great things, “That means for the rest of us that we have that same opportunity,’’ said O’Brien.
O’Brien said her role in sparking social change is to continue to tell — and most importantly listen to — people’s stories.
In 2013, O’Brien launched Starfish Media Group, a multi-platform media production and distribution company dedicated to uncovering and producing stories that challenge the issues of race, class, wealth, poverty and opportunity through personal narratives. She originated the documentary series, In America, which included Black in America and Latino in America and is still produced by her production company.