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About this film screening and conversation

Watch the recording of this event and panel discussion below:

When COVID-19 hit New York in March 2020, Sixth Street Community Center on the Lower East Side of Manhattan quickly pivoted its programming to focus on emergency food distribution. Long committed to the struggle for food justice through projects that include a community supported agriculture program, Sixth Street faced new challenges as a provider of donated food.

Sixth Street Community Center’s Program Director, Jen Chantrtanapichate, joined together with anthropologist and filmmaker, Naomi Schiller, filmmaker and artist, Dan Fethke, and interpreter Chloe Lin, to make a short film documenting the Center’s efforts. Their ten-minute documentary "On The Line" explores the frustration of hours waiting in line for donated cheese, the pressure on the community to adapt to unfamiliar foods, and the power of mutual aid amidst the crises of hunger, health, and violence facing low-income Chinese and Chinese-American people. "On the Line" raises questions about how we can respond to immediate needs while also transforming the system that produced this crisis.

Join us Thursday, September 30th at 7 pm (EDT) for a screening and conversation with director Naomi Schiller, Producer Dan Fethke, and Program Director Jen Chantrtanapichate and Nekeisha Lewis (Judson Memorial Food Bank Director), Jon Harper (Director of Emergency Response Food Distribution at Henry Street Settlement) and Eric Diaz (Executive Director of Vision Urbana). We’ll screen the film "On the Line" and discuss the broader terrain of food insecurity and justice in the Lower East Side and Beyond.

Free and open to the public, but please click here to RSVP for this event in advance via eventbrite.

"On the Line" will be screened IN PERSON at the Sixth Street Community Center Address: 638 E 6th St, New York, NY 10009. You can donate directly to Sixth Street Community Center here.

COVID PROTOCOLS: Please show proof of vaccination at the door. This will be an indoor screening, capacity is limited and masks will be mandatory.

Watch the trailer for On the Line:

Photos of Sixth Street Community Center's emergency food distribution efforts and people waiting in line.

More About the Participants and their Work:

Jen Chantrtanapichate

Jen Chantrtanapichate is an artist, climate activist and community organizer from New York City. She received her Masters in Urban Planning from Hunter College. She has jumpstarted Sixth Street's Youth Programs, Teen Programs, Emergency Food Distribution and Mutual Aid Kitchen Project. On top of being responsible for the overall success of SSCC's programs, she leads the center's organizing work in climate justice campaigns around energy democracy, opposition to fossil fuel expansion and coastal resiliency. In 2015, she founded the grassroots community organization, CNB, which advocates for environmental justice, particularly in response to waste inequity and environmental racism in North Brooklyn. She serves on the board of the Bushwick Food Coop and the Fifth Street Farm Project. In her spare time, she fights for climate justice for IBPOC communities with coalitions like Frack Outta Brooklyn (FOBK) and works on campaigns that fall under the ethos of ecosocialism.

Nekeisha Lewis is the Judson Memorial Food Bank Director. Since her late teenage years, Nekeisha Lewis' work as a UN development consultant has contributed to the successful implementation of youth development, LGBTQ health equity and reproductive rights initiatives funded by WHO, PAHO, UNAIDS, USAID, Women Deliver and other global development partners.

Nekeisha operates the Judson Food Bank program which has provided just over 700,000 lbs of groceries and fresh produce to food-insecure New York households since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. She is deeping the impact of this program with the creation of a UN coordinating mechanism for ending food insecurity in marginalized communities called the End Hunger Campaign."

Eric Diaz

Eric Diaz is Director of Vision Urbana, and has organized and is delivering food bags to seniors as well as sponsoring other services to youth and seniors in the LES. Eric serves as Secretary of CB 3. He is a Loisaida resident with his wife and child. He has been active in organizing the food bag delivery to seniors, which is particularly important in the time of COVID-19. Eric Diaz was born and raised on the Lower East Side, and has family roots in this neighborhood since 60 years ago, when his grandparents moved from the countryside of Puerto Rico to the NYCHA projects of Loisaida in Baruch houses, where Eric would later be born and raised. Click here to read more about Eric and his work.

Jon Harper, photo by Stacie Joy

Jon Harper is Director of Emergency Response Food Distribution at Henry Street Settlement.

Daniel Fethke

Daniel Fethke is a filmmaker, artist, and activist from New York City. He works mainly as a freelance Director/Producer, having worked on 30+ feature films since abandoning med-school in 2013. He is currently Producing "On the Line," a short documentary that tells the story of growing lines, rising tensions, and the power of mutual aid at a community center in the Lower East Side of New York City. Outside of film, he can be found wearing many hats: cooking free meals for his neighbors, riding a tricycle around Brooklyn to distribute PPE, or writing science fiction stories about techno-politics. Daniel will be pursuing an MFA this Fall at the Pratt Institute, where he will be focusing on his multimedia practice.

Naomi Schiller

Naomi Schiller is Associate Professor of Anthropology at Brooklyn College and the Graduate Center, CUNY and 2020-2022 Faculty Lead of “On the Line: Land Use, Food Access, Climate Justice and Organizing in New York City” project as part of the Seminar on Public Engagement and Collaborative Research from the Center for the Humanities at The Graduate Center, CUNY. Naomi’s research and teaching focus on urban politics, climate justice, visual and media anthropology, and the state. She is author of Channeling the State: Community Media and Popular Politics in Venezuela. Naomi is active in union organizing and anti-gentrification struggles.

This event is co-sponsored by the Sixth Street Community Center and “On the Line: Land Use, Food Access, Climate Justice and Organizing in New York City” project led by Faculty Leader Naomi Schiller as part of the Seminar on Public Engagement and Collaborative Research from the Center for the Humanities at The Graduate Center, CUNY.