Solly Granatstein is an American television producer and director, formerly with CBS 60 Minutes, NBC News and ABC News. He is co-creator, along with Lucian Read and Richard Rowley, of "America Divided", a documentary series about inequality, and was co-executive producer of Years of Living Dangerously Season 1. He is the winner of nine Emmys, a Peabody, a duPont, two Polks, four Investigative Reporters and Editors awards,[better source needed] including the IRE medal, and virtually every other major award in broadcast journalism. He is also the screenwriter, with Vince Beiser, of The Great Antonio, an upcoming film, developed by Steven Soderbergh and Warner Brothers.Read about Solly Granatstein in Wikipedia
Michael Moore's first big film "Roger & Me" has an extremely powerful scene in which a family in Flint, Michigan is evicted right around Christmas. That was an inspiration to me to document the stories of people living on the edge as they're happening. My aim in "A House Divided" was to explore the urgent challenges of housing inequity in New York through the eyes of Norman Lear.
Housing in New York seemed to fit Norman Lear. In addition, his shows confronted all kinds of social issues - racial separation and prejudice being foremost among them. The Evans of Good Times were the first black family to be the focus of a primetime American TV show. A lot of the people we came across in filming were familiar with the role Norman played in catalyzing important national conversations about race. They seemed grateful to him for trying to move the needle.
I'm more attuned than ever to the proliferation of groups that are working for justice and equality. They're all over the country. We want the people who watch "A House Divided" and other stories in our America Divided series to realize that there are structures that reinforce inequality and inequity, and that our job as good people is to work together to dismantle those structures. We're hoping that viewers will see what they have in common with other Americans, have empathy and become more united.
People need to get involved in their neighborhood groups and the many housing reform groups that are out there. We need to hold our elected officials accountable and push them to create legislation that protects tenants and keeps people in their homes. Our governments - local, state and federal - also need to allocate resources to enforce the fair housing laws that are already on the books.
Housing in New York City has become too expensive for many average wage earners, let alone people with marginal incomes, who find themselves displaced to far-flung neighborhoods or to the streets. Racist discrimination in housing, which has been around for decades and follows centuries of slavery, has exacerbated the housing affordability crisis for people of color.
Housing is where it all begins. Where you live determines everything from where you shop for food, to how safe your neighborhood is, to your kids' school, to whether you're exposed to toxic chemicals on a daily basis. And as a New Yorker, I found it impossible not to notice and be bothered by the huge number of homeless people in the city, as well as by the segregation and gentrification that's all around you.