November 15-21, 2019

While I Breathe, I Hope

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In 2014, Bakari Sellers–one of the youngest sitting members of the South Carolina House of Representatives–campaigns to be the first African American elected to statewide office since the 1870s. He runs for Lieutenant Governor, the second highest office in the state. The son of Cleveland Sellers, a prominent 1960s Civil Rights activist who was a leading member of SNCC, Bakari understands the difficult race relations in the American South. “Our race is not about what South Carolina was, it’s not about what South Carolina is, but it’s about what South Carolina can be,” he says. But as a Democrat in a red state, Bakari has a tough race ahead. News media consistently place Bakari behind his Republican opponent, Henry McMaster. Moreover, South Carolinians have not elected a Democrat to state office since 2006. Bakari doesn’t help his electability among white voters when he makes removing the Confederate Flag part of his campaign platform. He refuses to give up. “I can’t win if I don’t run,” he states. But, in the end it seems South Carolina isn’t ready for the kind of change Bakari wants to bring to his state.

Just months after the election, racially motivated shootings in Charleston in June of 2015 throw Bakari back into the spotlight. As he struggles to deal with the brutal death of his friend Clementa Pinckney, he finds thousands of faces turn to him for leadership. Bakari rises as a spokesperson for the community while also trying to unravel and understand the strained race relations of his beloved state. As the Confederate Flag drops from the State House grounds, he is on national television explaining the momentous nature of this event. In one of the most significant moments of his life, Bakari addresses the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. He brings audiences to their feet as he proclaims “Stand up for progress. Stand up for justice. And stand up if you know like I know that we’re stronger together!”

Filmmaker Biography

Emily Harrold is a documentary filmmaker from Orangeburg, South Carolina. Her films have screened at the Tribeca Film Festival, Melbourne International Film Festival, and the Telluride Film Festival. Harrold is a member of New York Women in Film and Television and Film Fatales. She is a graduate of New York University, where she earned honors majoring in Film Production and US History.


  • Wingate University, Wingate, NC. Friday 11/15/2019
  • Fuquay-Varina Arts Center, Fuquay-Varina, NC. Saturday 11/16/2019
  • Union College, Barbourville, KY. Monday 11/18/2019
  • Gateway Regional Arts Center, Mt. Sterling, KY. Tuesday 11/19/2019
  • University of Pikeville, Pikeville, KY. Wednesday 11/20/2019
  • Jacksonville State University, Jacksonville, AL. Thursday 11/21/2019