|Filmmaker John Lyden|
In time for today's International Day of Innocent Children Victims of Aggression and June's Student Safety Month. filmmaker John Lyden (College of St. Rose) explains below the background to Stepping Toward the Lion, his film about a young Muslim American finding his voice via an innovative program for addressing bullying.
Stepping Toward the Lion: Finding My Story showcases the intense struggles of Alaudeen Umar, a young African American Muslim, as he transitions from an all-Muslim school to a nondenominational charter school. In the wake of the terrorist attacks of 9/11, Alaudeen faced prejudice and bullying in this new environment, something that caused him considerable insecurity. As a proactive step to help him to deal with the bullying, Alaudeen’s family searched out and found a local interfaith storytelling group called Children at the Well.
The film depicts his transformation, going from being a bully victim in school, unsure and confused with his religion, to embracing his identity and becoming a versatile and talented storyteller.