Harmony Initiative film features mixed race couple

The Harmony Initiative Task Force has released the first in a series of short documentaries about life in Huntington County.

The film features an interracial couple, André and Kristie Laird, who discuss their life together in the predominantly white community of Huntington.

The four-minute film will be showcased during a community program in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, on Jan. 21 at 11:30 a.m. in Huntington University's Merillat Centre for the Arts. It can also be viewed on the Harmony Initiative website, www. harmonyinitiative.org.

Members of the task force say the purpose of the series is to explore what unites the community.

"While exploring diversity, these films will tell the story of the Huntington community - what we all hold in common, regardless of our differences," says task force member Kyle Hamilton. Hamilton is president and general manager of the Offertory Solutions division of Our Sunday Visitor.

"Eventually, we would like to tell more stories through additional documentaries," says task force member Sue Wilhelm, director of the Victory Noll Center. "For example, we would like to tell the stories of an elderly, life-long resident of Huntington County. We would like to tell the story of a representative of the Miami Nation. We would like to tell the story of a Victory Noll sister. All of these voices, together, help tell the story of Huntington County."

André Laird, a native of Jamaica, and Kristie Laird met at Huntington University. They married and remained in the community, where André Laird now works as a reporter and photographer for the Huntington County TAB. He says he is aware that his family stands out in the community, but adds that he participated in the project in order to help dispel myths about Huntington County.

The documentary was filmed and directed by Anthony Frederick, a Huntington University senior majoring in film production, with assistance from Hamilton, Wilhelm and task force members Trace Hinesley and Michael Howell.