Hi this is Eric Battersby from Hollywood 27 Productions and Change The World Films, and since I’m the one who started The Walk a Mile Project here, I thought you might appreciate knowing a little bit of my story and how this whole crazy project actually came about.
My desire to “change the world” really started with a passion for fighting racism, which began during my high school days at Proviso East back in Maywood, IL, just a few miles directly west of Chicago.
After growing up in the nearly all white town of Forest Park my whole life, I was sent to Proviso East, which was a nearly all black high school, one that most kids in my town were pretty afraid to attend – and their parents were usually pretty afraid to send them too.
4 years later, at the ripe old age of 17 and as a Senior, I spoke at a forum at my old Junior High School gym back in Forest Park. After a rather dull evening of questions ignoring the true issue at hand, I finally spoke up near the end of the night and challenged the parents to raise their hands if the real reason they were afraid to send their kids to my high school was because of the race situation.
And… only one person raised her hand. But… within a few minutes, and with some healthy persuasion on my part, the vast majority of that big room raised their hands. THEN we finally had an honest conversation, and at that moment, things changed for me. I realized I could help people face up to the truth about racism, and fight through it, and it really shifted my life’s path. And all that because I simply spoke up. I didn’t shy away from the truth.
I proudly graduated high school with my brothers and sisters of all races, and I’d grown so much as a human being – I couldn’t thank Proviso East enough.
I went off to college for writing and film-making, and 5 years after graduation I started my own film company called Hollywood 27 Productions, to make a movie about racism and start making a difference on a larger scale. But boy did it take awhile… like well over a decade a while. I had to work my day job that whole time, and believe me it was NOT easy to get investors for making a film about racism in Chicago – a lesson well-learned for when it came time to start Change The World Films.
You can learn more about that film project, the movie is called PYRITE, and all my racism fighting efforts over at Hollywood27.com. Now I tell you all this because The Walk a Mile Project actually started as another film project to fight racism and really any other narrow-minded thinking we struggle with in the world today. The idea was to show audiences short documentary stories about walking a mile in another person’s shoes before you ever try to judge them. Over time that concept grew into taking on some of the biggest issues facing us today, and applying the same kind of attitude, and really with a premium on truth. Our mission, “Discover the truth and change the world”, it all grew out of that idea to walk a mile in another person’s shoes, because that’s where you find perspective… that’s where you find the truth.
So almost a few years ago now I finally quit my day job, and I started down the path of running a nonprofit full time and doing what I’m supposed to do – which is to take that natural ability I realized I had way back at that forum in my junior high gymnasium, when I was first inspired to speak up and make a difference. Now at The Walk a Mile Project we’re all doing it, and it’s for issues that affect nearly the entire planet – we’re here to change the world.
And I hope you’ll join us. You can click the JOIN THE PROJECT link on this page or anywhere at walkamileproject.com, and either become a subscriber or just sign up free. So that’s my little story, but we’ve got much bigger ones to write… together.