Eroding History tells the story of two Black communities on the Deal Island Peninsula that are losing their land and their history due to the intersection of historical racism and modern climate changes. Andre Chung, an in-demand news and portrait photographer who won the 2021 Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award for Domestic Photography, directed Eroding History. West Baltimore filmmaker and journalist Sean Yoes co-wrote and co-produced it, and longtime Chesapeake Bay chronicler Rona Kobell produced and also co-wrote it.

Eroding History is among the few Chesapeake Bay films that center Black communities at the forefront of climate change. Black people are often on the lowest land, because that was the only land that was available to them. On the Eastern Shore, where everything is low, the lowest spot is a dangerous place. Rising water, saltwater intrusion, and marsh migration are endangering Black lands at a rapid pace. That Black filmmakers are telling these stories is important, and EJJI is proud to provide a platform for telling and disseminating these films.


6:30PM: Doors
7PM: Welcome & Introduction
7:10PM : Film Screening
8:15PM: Cultural Townhall w/ Panelists

Filmmaker and Producer Bios

André Chung is an award winning photojournalist, portrait photographer and filmmaker. For over thirty years his work has focused on the relationships of people of color to each other and to the world. His humanist approach explores the culture, the challenges and the victories of the people in front of his lens. His major awards include the 2021 Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Journalism Award for Domestic Photography for his work covering the Black Lives Matter movement in 2020. A former staff photographer for the Chicago Sun-Times and the Baltimore Sun, he has since created images and short films for a range of clients, including The Washington Post, NBC News, The Atlantic, the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the NAACP, and Apple. Twice selected to work on The Official Inaugural Book for President Barack Obama, his work is also in the permanent collections of the Smithsonian Institute’s National Museum of African American History and Culture and the History Miami Museum.

Sean Yoes is a proud son of West Baltimore who has worked in television, film and newspapers during a career in media that has spanned 30 years. He has been honored for his work by Baltimore City Paper, Baltimore Magazine, the Baltimore Sun, the Association of Black Media Workers, the National Newspaper Publishers Association and the Maryland, Delaware, Washington D.C. Press Association. He is the former Baltimore editor of the AFRO American Newspapers and author of Baltimore After Freddie Gray: Real Stories From One of America’s Great Imperiled Cities. Yoes is the host of the new podcast, Sean Yoes Live From West Baltimore, and founder of the Leslie Maureen Yoes Institute for Journalism. His new film, Disruption: Baltimore’s Highway To Nowhere, was released in 2022. Yoes is currently in pre-production on the expanded 60-minute version of Disruption.

Rona Kobell is the co-founder of the Environmental Justice Journalism Initiative. She has covered the Chesapeake Bay and its people for 20 years, beginning at The Baltimore Sun, then at the Chesapeake Bay Journal, and most recently as the managing editor for Chesapeake Quarterly magazine. She is an adjunct professor at Loyola University, Towson University, and the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland, where she recently earned her Master’s of the Arts in Journalism. For five years, she co-hosted and co-produced a Chesapeake Bay show on WYPR. Her writing has appeared in Slate, Grist, The Boston Globe, The Washington Post, National Parks Magazine, and many other publications. Her work has won several awards, including the Lowell Thomas Award, Bronze, for national environmental travel reporting; and the Rachel Carson Award for Women Greening Journalism from the National Audubon Society. Baltimore magazine named her Best Bay Watcher in 2015, and named Eroding History Best Environmental Reporting in 2023. Rona was named a 2023-2024 SNF AGORA Fellow at Johns Hopkins University for the 2023-2024 academic year, where she will continue to work on the topics explored in Eroding History.

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