The team bringing the Quince Orchard Project to life is as diverse as our community
Our community has been inspired by this film. In their own words, learn more about their participation and why they’re passionate about highlighting the Quince Orchard community.
Jasmyn Shumate, digital storyteller
As a digital storyteller and creative narrator my job is to document and frame life’s moments and make them tangible to my audiences. Visual communications allows me to become a storyteller investigating the socio-cultural significance of photo-based images uncovering the narrative and expressive powers of individual voices around the world.
As an artist, I want my work to reach, attract and translate to communities across the world bridging multiple voices for public conversations to discuss social impact issues. I was eager to join The Quince Orchard Project because I was moved by Jason’s motivation to use the film as a vehicle for creating a digital archive – building a library of stories to reflect the true face of communities and individual stories and include these stories in public conversations.
I believe that The Quince Orchard Project is a body of work trying to reflect the intimacy between liberation and healing. During my brainstorm discussions with Jason he has expressed four impact goals – change minds, influence behaviors, build communities, and revitalize structures, thus, marrying together his passion for art and social advocacy. This type of storytelling work fuels my creative drive to further invest in my academic development as an aspiring content creator.
Kisha Davis, film’s co-producer
I started on this road with my brother because of my Grandmother. I spent my weekday mornings all throughout high school at her breakfast table. Her faith and resilience along with her strong sense of service, family, and community inspired me and is a story I thought worth sharing.
This project started as a way to collect her life stories to share with others. Along that way we discovered that there was more to the story than just her. For me this story is deeply personal, its about my family, my roots. How we got here, why we stayed here, and why this place called Quince Orchard matters.
But I also recognize that this story is bigger than me, or my grandmother. It’s a story of how this community chose to come together to create something bigger than themselves and leave a legacy for their children.
I hope that by leaning on the examples they set I can carry that spirit forward not just to my own children, but to the community at large.
Heath Saunders, film editor
I wanted to be a part of the project as soon as heard about it. After my first weekend on the project and visiting Quince Orchard, I was a changed person. I have never felt so welcomed and so at home in a place that I had never been to. It’s a story that needs to be told and now more than ever. I’m so glad to be a part of the team and can’t wait to share the film with the world.
Patty Dirlam, Quince Orchard Club
I’m part of The Quince Orchard Project because I think there are many lessons to be learned from Quince Orchard’s history. As a QO local that routinely reaps the benefits of living in such a diverse, united community, I think it is important to spread our example as far as possible.
Kimberly Kortash, design
Quince Orchard is the kind of place we imagine when we think of community and the American dream, where everyone belongs and is treated kindly and with compassion.
This film provides a glimpse into what we all aspire for our own communities. It demonstrates that a community like this is beyond simply an aspiration but is indeed achievable. I think, especially now, we all need to be reassured that this equality and unity is possible.
This is a film with purpose that has the potential to ignite togetherness across communities large and small. I wanted to be part of this project because I believe it will be a powerful tool that highlights a path forward for others to model.
Jason Green, film’s co-producer
I’m part of The Quince Orchard Project because I think our society is struggling from the erosion of community. We are each so actively pursuing our own idea of the American dream, that we forget that the manifestation of the American dream is in our diversity, our ability to come together, and be part of something bigger than ourselves. That starts with a fundamental appreciation for each other and the desire and belief that everyone belongs and has significance.
The Quince Orchard Project is an effort to capture the overshadowed history of a community. To tell a story of how a group of people in one of America’s most turbulent times believed that one another belonged and were able to build community.
Now, more than ever, in our turbulent times, we need to be reminded of our capacity to come together, overcome, and build community.
Taaj Amin, storyteller
I’ve always loved story-telling. Since I was a boy, my favorite subject has been history because I see it as a vast and complex story that we can learn countless lessons from.
After working on this story, above all else, I learned from it the value of solidarity. I think this plays a fundamental role in documenting the progression of any community, and in order to know where your future is leading you, you have to have an understanding of your past.
I see the film now as an opportunity to give a context of where our country once stood on the subject of race-relations and where it stands today. This context is important if each viewer were to ask himself or herself what sort of growth we’ve had. In my opinion, the beauty of the film comes in the spectrum of answers we can ascertain from that critical question.
Adam Zilcoski, historian
As a graduate of Quince Orchard High School, I was immediately engaged in the project when Jason Green shared his vision.
As a historian I believe local history is often too overlooked in the classroom, sacrificed for wars, battles or the macro stories that dominate most textbooks. Sadly, people forget or are ignorant of the incredible local history that surrounds them and the local stories have such influence on the way local culture took shape.
I hope my participation in the Quince Orchard Project will help me understand my alma mater and the area that holds such a special place in my life. I also hope the QOP can help others understand the power of local involvement and how people with differing views can find common ground, empathize with each other, and grow their community.
Jennifer Non, public relations
As soon as I saw Jason was working on this project, even before I knew exactly what it was, I offered my help with publicity because I know that anything Jason works on is something that will involve a positive and uplifting message.
I take great pride in where I grew up and still live today and cherish that as a community we have the opportunity to cross paths with individuals of all different backgrounds. I am happy to help share this story.
Hiwot Hailu, storyteller
I am a part of this project because I recognize the importance of community. As a child of immigrants growing up in the United States creating community was critical to preserving our culture. Storytelling is a fundamental part of community. Understanding how the past has come together to pave the way for the future is how we grow, learn, and move together.
The Quince Orchard Project does just that. Preserving history and connecting people through storytelling is a meaningful way to impact change. I am hopeful in our ability to come together through the story of the Quince Orchard community.
Holly Ahrens, communications
A little more than a year ago I saw Jason at a Christmas party. We chatted about this new documentary he was working on. I loved the concept of the project and casually told Jason that if he ever needed help I was available. A couple months later Jason reached out to me to help him with research.
My background is in real estate and I ended up reading what felt like hundreds of deeds tracing back his family’s land records. There’s something very special about reading history through deeds/ plats from the 1700-1800s and discovering connections to the land. You can see how small and close knit the Quince Orchard community was compared to the expansive North Potomac city.
As a stay at home mom, I originally got involved with the project to flex my adult thinking muscles, but now I tell everyone around me about Quince Orchard because it is a story that needs telling now more than ever. I’m also an artist and I felt compelled to paint something related to the QOP because it’s now in my heart so my first painting of 2017 was of Pleasant View Church. This documentary makes you want to be from Quince Orchard. It makes you want to be a part of this loving and strong community that was built by “doers”.
Noah Vernick, Quince Orchard Club
My first encounter with The Quince Orchard Project (QOP) was when Jason Green spoke at Quince Orchard High School’s (QOHS) Honor Society induction ceremony. He spoke of his grandmother and the history within the Quince Orchard community, my Quince Orchard community. The one that I grew up in and that gave me the roots for who I am today.
After the ceremony, I spoke with him and expressed my interest in getting involved. From then on, I have wanted to expand our community and bring as many people as I could into our group. To do so, I started a club called the Quince Orchard Project at QOHS with a few close friends who were equally dedicated. We spent time planning events to bring Quince Orchard together while also emphasizing the idea that we are a close-knit community that lies on many decades of history. Currently as a college student, it is difficult keeping up with the ever-growing Quince Orchard Project and its mission, but I am trying my hardest to reach out to those who I feel could help in our endeavors.
Now that the documentary is nearing completion, the goal for me is to think about who we can reach with this film and how we can impact those who see it. I want this film to spark the viewers interest and provoke action just as the story did to me. I hope to see the inspiration of young people, not only in the QO community, urging them to take a part in further developing their communities.
Berwin Yuan, Quince Orchard Club
In the beginning, I decided to join because it was something I could invest my time in as an extracurricular activity. However, as I became more involved with the events, the Quince Orchard Project has grown to be more than a club I could be a part of in my spare time.
During my time with the Quince Orchard Project, I’ve watched everyone tell their emotional stories. As the bonds of this tiny community strengthen, I learned more about the lives of each person, and the personal struggles each person hides and tries to conquer on their own.
One of the biggest lessons this documentary is how important it is for family to always support each other. My memories of the time spent with the Quince Orchard project are those of a family working to complete a greater, common goal. From the hours spent transcribing to those spent filming, every moment was motivated by the intent to see everyone’s pride when the documentary finishes.
Colin Hendy, communications
Social Issues and History have always interested me. The subjects are so intertwined that one can not thoroughly understand one subject without the other. My fascination with both led me to study both Psychology and Public History at university. Although I am a Maryland native I must confess that I really do not know much Maryland history beyond its role during the Civil War. Modern day Maryland is a diverse state which features individuals of various backgrounds, and ideologies. While modern Maryland is a very progressive state one can’t help but wonder what events helped shape it’s modern ideology.
During my time at University I was fortunate enough to learn about the Pleasant View Church and schoolhouse and its historical significance, however what truly makes the story special to me is the legacy it helped create. I truly believe that the story of the transition of Pleasant View and its members to Fairhaven is a microcosm of the sweeping ideology of those within this state at that time. The fact that three different churches could come together to form one combined church during the 1960s is a testament to all involved. After meeting various individuals from that church I believe that it is a story many should know as well.
Bryson Kemp, composer
I first met Jason at my cousin’s wedding two years ago, and joined the QOP team soon after as the film’s composer. I was drawn by Jason’s enthusiasm for the project and also his wish to learn more about his roots, something most people can relate to. Music has always been my passion. I majored in Film Studies and Music Performance in college, and I get complete joy out of putting music to a story.
Seeing Jason’s love for his grandmother and sharing in his excitement for this project are some of the reasons I am honored to be a part of this team. I have enjoyed the challenge of incorporating Jason’s vision into the music. My favorite part so far has been recording music at last year’s JuneFest, and meeting Willie Ridgley, one of the original Royal Harmonizers. I am thankful to be a part of QOP, and I have thoroughly enjoyed collaborating with Jason.