PBS Film on Gerrymandering Produced by a BOOMER Writer

By Annie Tobey | October 12th, 2016

Columnist Bill Oglesby and PBS spotlight a controversial topic


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In addition to tickling BOOMER readers’ nostalgia bones with his regular “Where Were You?” columns, Bill Oglesby has been teaching at Virginia Commonwealth University as well as directing and producing a documentary. “GerryRIGGED: Turning Democracy on Its Head” is a nonpartisan look at gerrymandering and redistricting reform in Virginia.

The one-hour film is designed to bring awareness to the impact of gerrymandering, the modification of legislative district boundaries for political gain, a practice engaged in by both Democrats and Republicans. The documentary examines the problems with the current system and potential solutions. Targeted for Virginia distribution, it will debut in October, carried on every PBS outlet in the state.

“Gerrymandering is the enemy of representative government. It deliberately manipulates the system to take away from voters the very choice that should be a hallmark of our system,” says Oglesby. “We hope with this documentary to help citizens understand that this isn’t the way it has to be, that the voters have a right to choose their representatives rather than the representatives choose them.”

The film has been a collaborative project between The Community Idea Stations and OneVirginia2021: Virginians for Fair Redistricting, an organization that was created in 2013 to work toward fair, nonpartisan redistricting.

“‘GerryRIGGED: Turning Democracy on its Head’ shines a light on one of the most deceptive practices in American politics,” says Shannon Valentine, founding member of OneVirginia2021 and former member of the Virginia House of Delegates. “Quietly, and behind closed doors, politicians manipulate legislative district lines to protect and build their political power, leaving us with a government that is often gridlocked and dysfunctional. This documentary provides hope on what we, as citizens, can actually do to take that power back.”

The documentary will run on PBS outlets throughout Virginia, with its Richmond airings on WCVE, Oct. 24 at 9 p.m., and WCVW, Oct. 27, 8 p.m.

Other Virginia airing dates:

WBRA Roanoke: Tuesday, Oct. 18 at 7 p.m.

WVPT Harrisonburg: Thursday, Oct. 27 at 9 p.m.

WCVE Richmond: Monday, Oct. 24 at 9 p.m.

WCVW Richmond: Thursday, Oct. 27 at 8 p.m.

WHTJ Charlottesville: Monday, Oct. 24 at 9 p.m.

WHUT Howard (D.C.): Monday, Oct. 24 at 9 a.m. & Sunday, Oct. 30 at 7 p.m.

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