Witness Special: America season
A special series of documentaries looking at the struggles and hopes of Americans.
Last Modified: 30 Aug 2009 10:17 GMT

The US is a nation in transition. The hallmarks of the change are expressed across the landscape by abrupt economic change, shifting cultural perceptions and stark political evolution.

Frequently the topic of American influence surrounds the impact that the US has beyond its own borders.


Watch more Witness documentaries

In a special series of films, Witness explores what is happening inside the country and highlights some unique stories of ordinary people in the US.

How are these changes expressed on the streets of American cities and how vibrant does the promise of stability, security and opportunity remain for most of its citizens?

As a country that prides itself on dynamism, diversity and bearing a unique role in world events, Witness looks at just where things stand as these changes become woven into the American fabric.

Islam in America: The American Crescent                                     Sunday, July 5

In a special two-part documentary, Rageh Omaar journeys across the US exploring the story of Islam in the country.

He traces its history in the US and talks to American Muslims about how their belief is compatible with the principles of American democracy.

And he learns that growing interest in this early history is fostering a re-emerging sense of tolerance and acceptance, which extends to the nation's most recent immigrants.


Click here to watch Islam in America: The American Crescent 

Voices of the Heart                                                                            Sunday, July 5

Native American Tish Keahna returns to the Wind River reservation where she grew up, to see the impact of a language immersion school to restore the Arapaho language and the culture it represents.

It is a journey of joy but there are also some painful memories for Tish, as she remembers times when the Arapaho language, like so many other indigenous tongues, was repressed and forbidden.


Click here to watch Voices of the Heart

Under the Neon                                                                                  Tuesday, July 7

Las Vegas, America's gambling capital, has long been a destination for the rich and an outpost for Hollywood's glitziest exports.

Under the Neon is an extraordinary journey below the surface of the bright lights of Las Vegas, to meet some of the city's homeless people who are battling to make a home for themselves under the streets of gold in the city's storm-drains and tunnels.


Click here to watch Under the Neon

Troop 1500                                                                                        Thursday, July 9

For parents who are incarcerated one of their greatest struggles is trying to maintain any sort of contact with their family on the outside.

For the children of inmates it means time without their parents and lost opportunities to create a lasting relationship.

Troop 1500 is the story of a unique girl scout troop in Texas that brings daughters and mothers together behind prison walls.


Click here to watch Troop 1500  

Forty Acres and a Dream                                                                 Sunday, July 12

The role of race in American society has always been burdened with the tragic history of slavery, violence and intolerance.

Black farmers now face a new danger - globalisation.

In Forty Acres and a Dream, director David Snider follows the journey of award-winning photographer John Ficara as he chronicles the decline of black farmers and the imminent destruction of their way of life.


Click here to watch Forty Acres and a Dream

Islam in America: Islamic Stars and Stripes                                Sunday, July 12

In the second part of his journey across the US, Rageh Omaar looks at how America's Muslims have coped with the aftermath of 9/11, exploring the demands of patriotism and belief.

Meeting with believers and scholars, he looks at how the boundaries of "traditional" Islam are being pushed, and asks whether America is in fact witnessing a reformation that can sow the seeds of reconciliation.


Click here to watch Islam in America: Islamic Stars and Stripes

Once Upon a Time - A Storybook Beginning                               Tuesday, July 14

As the number of adults in prison increases so do the number of children with parents in jail.

Aunt Mary's Storybook Project uses the power of words and the human voice to positively impact the lives of inmates and their children. 

Witness follows two imprisoned mothers, Latonya and Maria, as they struggle to maintain a connection with their children through the magic of storytelling. 


Click here to watch Once Upon a Time - A Storybook Beginning

Family Torn Apart                                                                             Sunday, July 19

The Munoz parents came to the US years ago on a temporary residence permit to get hospital treatment for their first child - and stayed.

Now the US immigration authorities have caught up with them and the parents have been sent back to Tijuana, just across the border.
18-year-old Lesley and her younger siblings were born in America, so are US citizens. 

A look into the lives of this family who are struggling to stay together across two countries. 


Click here to watch Family Torn Apart

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