What do you Aspire to be?

With each new generation we see the promise of our future and the continuation of our collective legacy. The lives we lead in adulthood bud from the aspirations of our childhood and despite the nuance that accumulates over time, deep down they remain the same. Furthermore, across generations we find consensus about attributes of character worth aspiring to, despite the many different ways those attributes are particularized. Courage, for example, exists in a variety of iterations from small acts of benevolence like struggling to provide for the ones you love most, to grand gestures like fighting for the rights of whole nations.

To understand how far we've come and how much farther we've yet to go, we must confront those most basic assumptions that have shaped our lives and which will continue to shape the lives of countless future generations. In an attempt to do just that, 7 adults shared their deepest aspirations with 7 youth who, in turn, interpreted and painted the adults faces with their interpretation.

Aspirations captures an opportunity for adults to share an experience with our youth that may significantly impact how they think about their futures and the kinds of people they'd like to become.

Featuring Julian Bellak, Maria Geryk, Flavia Montenegro-Menezes, Lorelai Faye Moylan, John Musante, Naomi Nelson, Micah Raab, Austin Ross, Momodou S. Sarr, Mira Setty-Charity, Elias Spreiter, Illiam Stauch-White, Tenzin Tsering, Nick Yaffe

Directed by Jose Rodriguez. Produced by Carol Ross. Screening discussion facilitated by Dr. Faye Brady.

Inspired by the "If Only For A Second" campaign, this film documents seven volunteers and seven youth artists as they discuss and attempt to represent those aspects of character worth aspiring to. Following the May 9, 2015 screening of Aspirations at Jones library, audience members participated in a discussion about the film, facilitated by dr. faye brady. The wordles below reflect the viewpoints that were shared...

what are your aspirations?

we asked. you shared...


peace & love for ALL!

play guitar

a mentor

children who learn thru community & thru nature

concretely help each other to have meditative space

dignity for all people and all things

¡Disfrutar de mi familia! Con amor, salud y alegria.

my aspiration is to become rich and famous like Justin B.

time to reflect

constitutional amendment, free universal healthcare for all american citizens, free universal post-secondary education (college, community college and vo-tech) for all american citizens

I aspire to have courage in face of my own fears and self-doubt

my aspiration is to be rich and famous for my brave, kind and heroic action

to create art & play music

Ser feliz


love hopes wish

meaningful work

write and illustrate a children's book

a good morning


peace of mind

rent control in Amherst

I want to play the violin really well and be the star of a show





If Amherst Is A Racetrack...

The Pre-Race Meal is a 60 minute film about 8 community members who come together in the creative process of conceiving a film about Amherst as a fictional universe. The focal point of the film is a race track—a metaphor for the arbitrarily constructed boundaries between people that keep us separated and in constant competition.

Featuring Rand Foerster, Marta Guevara, Sajo Jefferson, Khayyam Mahdi, Maureen Raab, Manju Sharma, Doug Slaughter, and Joe Wolner.

Directed by Jose Rodriguez. Produced by Carol Ross. Screening discussion facilitated by Anastasia Morton.

The Appetizer

If Amherst is a race-track, what would be the prize at the end of the race?

The Entree

There are 6 tracks. Who would be racing and why? Who, if anyone, would not be racing?

The Dessert

Is the race necessary? If so, why? If not, what would the alternative be?


We asked. You shared...

Those at the top of the race



White Rich

Those familiar with racing

The “Professional Class”

White Males

The “educated”

Those that strategized to get track #1 to win

The owners

The privileged and articulate


Rich + Powerful

Colleges and Universities

People who choose to race


The employed

Those that want to win

Those with elite education

Property owners

People who pay attention to what is going on



Business people

Those that don’t cave down


Those who think racing is fun

Those who are really running this town

The tenured

Those that never give up

Those behind in the race




The shy but passionate


Those who wish they were fast

Working class folks


Hardworking parents

The unemployed

Those just getting by

Those who are angry at their status


Those that are fed up with racing

Young people/students

Those who race because they were told to race

Homeless people

Poor qualifiers

Those with bad credit

People who can barely afford to live here

Religious affiliations

Those that holler loudly to hide the fact that they are scared

Those who have had a racist experience

The poor

Former city dwellers


Rested to this place

They got stuck here

Those perceiving

Those that don’t cave down



Only because they have to

Homeless +Marginalized

Those trying to keep up

Those not in the race


Those whose entire life is all about being “invisible”

Those who are tired of racing

Folks who don’t get how the race works

Folks who don’t have to race because they have won already

Town vs gown kids—students

The scared of retaliation

Dead people—everyone races

The disabled

Disabled people

Those who fear they would not be taken seriously

The homeless

The discouraged

The owner of the race who’s profiting by keeping us running around in circles.

Esperanto speakers

Those who own all 6 tracks

The elderly

The outsiders


People who have no idea there is a race or why they should care.

The sick and ailing

Time squeezed

Those not sure what they think

Those who have given up.