"Watch me be the artist that was born ready made. Watch me take my lemons and make the best goddamn lemonade."
In the documentary LEMON, we witness poet Lemon Andersen's struggles and triumphs as he uses the power of his voice to pull himself and his family out of poverty. He turns his three felonies and brutal past into fodder for creative endeavor, successfully turning his lemons into lemonade. While his complex story does not offer simple answers, it does open up opportunities for young people and other marginalized voices to explore and discuss personal and societal challenges, and move from a place of frustration to action.
In fact, groups around the country are coming together to use the award-winning documentary as a way to spark dialogue about ways to turn life's challenges into opportunities. Bring together your friends, classmates and peers to watch the film and have an action-oriented discussion with the help of the materials below.
Download the discussion guide
Host a Screening
Take Action Opportunities
- Join the LEMON Community: Fan the LEMON Facebook page and stay in touch for more creative activities and Make Lemonade opportunities.
- Keep the conversation going: Host your own screening at home, at church or even at school. Visit www.cinemalibre.org for more information about getting a DVD.
- Come up with your own recipe for success: We all face "lemons" in our lives. Make a list of your own lemons and identify the "ingredients" it will take to make your own lemonade. Perhaps you need a strong mentor, or job opportunities, or a support group. As you hone in on what your personal challenges are, you can take the steps to identify what it'll take to move in a positive direction.
- Find your own voice: Visit www.youthspeaks.org to find a local organization that can help you explore poetry and other creative ways to get your voice out there.
- Register to Vote: There are a lot of issues that come up in this story that people can vote to change. If you want to see more public arts program, if you want to see more equitable housing options, if you want more job opportunities, use your power! Register to vote and help pick the decision makers that will take your needs into account. If you are too young, if you are undocumented, or if, like Lemon, you have a criminal record that makes you ineligible to vote, talk to your friends and family about the issues that mean the most to you and your community.
- Bring the arts into your school: Contact your school administrators about the value of the arts in inspiring and motivating young people. Use a clip from the film to demonstrate its power. Consider allying with the PTA and student groups to host a lemon-themed fundraiser for arts education. (Get creative! Host a bake sale with lemonade, lemon cookies and more.)
The Beat Within