Over a year ago, I was contacted by a researcher/producer for ABC News. She had found one of my blog entries (in which I was chastising ABC for not paying attention to the disasters in the west, especially on the reservations). She told me they were working on a Diane Sawyer prime time special in her “A Hidden America” series. The prior one had been on life in Appalachia. This time they were planning to profile Pine Ridge Reservation.
Those of you who have been reading my blog will know that there is not much that fires up my hopefully righteous passion more than talking about life on Pine Ridge Reservation. So talk we did, for almost an hour. And we emailed – resources that they might find helpful.
I had heard that Diane Sawyer was out on the rez this past summer when I was there (no, we didn’t happen to cross paths traveling the approximately 2 million acres on the rez. But I did here that she went up to KILI Radio one of the days I was there. Try to keep that quiet when you’re talking to DJ’s.
I am giving you a link to the promo for the show. Please, if you have ever enjoyed or been moved by anything I have written, I implore you to watch the 20/20 program on Friday at 10 PM. See with your own eyes the good and the bad of Pine Ridge. You may not find it possible but this place does exist. I have been there and I suspect they will not tell you the worst story nor show you the poorest homes. But it will still be worse than you expect. After all, the living conditions on Pine Ridge rival those in Haiti and the life expectancy on Pine Ridge rivals that of Burundi.
I work for an organization that works to support self-sufficiency – not an easy thing to have on Pine Ridge. Many of us work to keep the dam from breaking by trying to improve the life of one person at a time. The big picture can be truly overwhelming.
If you can’t watch the show when it airs, record it or have a friend record it for you.
I will be honest. I prayed for someone with greater reach than mine to focus attention on the needs of Pine Ridge. I did not know (or care) who it would be. I am grateful to ABC News because I know that if more people see the conditions, they will be moved to respond. I believe in the American people and I know in my heart that things can improve. I do not have the answers but I know it can be done.
Thank YOU for helping them to raise awareness. You can do that by sharing this blog post with everyone you know.
Oh yes, here’s the link to the promo: http://abcnews.go.com/2020/video/hidden-america-children-plains-14708439#.TpOhj9LOE2E.facebook