Illinois Humanities Partners With WTTW to Premiere Independent Lens Film, “Apart,” February 17, 2022

For Immediate Release: February 10, 2022

Press Releases
Illinois Humanitites

Read Time 3 minutes
February 10, 2022


A panel following the screening will include Illinois Humanities’ Envisioning Justice fellow Meredith Nnoka.


Illinois Humanities will co-present Apart, a new film in WTTW’s Independent Lens series, as part of the organization’s Envisioning Justice program. This intimate portrait examines the impact of America’s war on drugs through the stories of three mothers attempting to rebuild lives derailed by drugs and prison. As Tomika, Lydia, and Amanda prepare to rejoin their families after years of incarceration, they enter an innovative program in Cleveland, Ohio where they lean on each other and mentors who have also been in prison. With the hope of redemption on the horizon, the women work to regain the trust of their children and combat stigmas associated with people who have been incarcerated.

A virtual screening with an accompanying panel moderated by Sylvia Ewing will take place on February 17, at 4:00 p.m. CT. Sylvia Ewing is the Strategic Communications, Marketing, and Outreach Director at Elevate Energy and has been seen on WTTW and around the country as an on-air television host for PBS fundraising specials. The panel will feature Illinois Humanities’ Envisioning Justice Fellow Meredith Nnoka, Associate Professor at University of Chicago’s Crown Family School Reuben Jonathan Miller, and Director of the Reclamation Project through the Women’s Justice Institute, Colette Payne.

“Through Illinois Humanities’ Envisioning Justice program, we know that the stories of women impacted by the criminal legal system are often decentered in mainstream conversations about mass incarceration,” said Tyreece Williams, the Program Manager for Envisioning Justice. “Apart, however, is a powerful depiction of challenges faced by incarcerated mothers and their journeys toward reclaiming their lives after incarceration. At Illinois Humanities, we believe using the arts and humanities to uplift directly impacted perspectives has the power to generate healing, dialogue, and collaboration that will get us closer to a more just collective future. Apart is a testament to this belief.”

Apart premieres on all WTTW platforms on Monday, February 21 at 10:00 p.m. CT. The February 17 screening and panel is free but requires a reservation. Register online at:


Illinois Humanities, the Illinois affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, is a statewide nonprofit organization that activates the humanities through free public programs, grants, and educational opportunities that foster reflection, spark conversation, build community, and strengthen civic engagement. We provide free, high-quality humanities experiences throughout Illinois, particularly for communities of color, individuals living on low incomes, counties and towns in rural areas, small arts and cultural organizations, and communities highly impacted by mass incarceration. Founded in 1974, Illinois Humanities is supported by state, federal, and private funds.

Learn more about Illinois Humanities at and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @ILHumanities.

Meredith Nnoka, the Envisioning Justice Fellow at Illinois Humanities, is a Chicago-based writer, educator, and social justice advocate originally from Southern Maryland. She studied the intersecting histories of Black expressive arts and social movements at Smith College for her BA and later the University of Wisconsin-Madison for her MA, where she first considered the questions now central to her work: What is the power in bearing witness, and how can controlling our own narratives be used toward liberation?