Fadel Al Marsoumi, Ian Perotta Mohammed Hassan, Karen Majewski, Asm ‘Kamal’ Raman
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… a powerful spotlight on a divided city and a country with a long battle for solidarity ahead.
Hamtramck [pronounced Hamtram-ick], a small town near Detroit, Michigan is a melting pot of ethnicities; over twenty cultural backgrounds make up the diverse population and the multi-ethnic city prides itself on its mantra “The world in two square miles”.
This wasn’t always the case, as historically it thrived thanks to Polish Catholic immigrants drawn to the industrial boom of America. In the late 1990s, Bangladeshi and Yemeni Muslim immigrants revitalised this post industrialist city. Hamtramck’s become the first majority Muslim city in the good ole’ US of A, much to the chagrin of some locals. It’s also the first city to allow the Muslim call to prayer to be broadcast five times a day. With local council elections looming, candidates face challenges and opportunities within each community, including their own.
Karen Majewski, Hamtramck’s Mayor is Polish. Majewski’s the first woman from a long line of Poles who’ve been in the mayoral role before her. She’s going for a fourth term and has to again convince the local constituents that she’s the one for the job. Her opponents, Mohammed Hassan and Asm ‘Kamal’ Raman want change which, they believe, can only happen with one of them at the helm. Fadel Al Marsoumi and Ian Perotta are young progressives with sound ideas and quiet confidence, they’re both running as city council candidates and through them we see what the future for the city, and indeed the USA, could be.
Producer/Directors Justin Feltman and Razi Jafri’s documentary showcases the vibrant life, celebrations and culture of the city’s inhabitants; it also highlights the political divisions. As the local election nears, problems arise – with so many factions it’s hard to unite locals into a cohesive community, and convincing them to vote is an uphill battle.
While the film attempts to showcase a sense of intercultural understanding and community respect, most of the townfolk appear to remain within their own ethnic communities, shining a powerful spotlight on a divided city and a country with a long battle for solidarity ahead.