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And Now We Rise: A Portrait of Samuel Johns

Samuel Johns (right) with film crew
Affinityfilms, Inc.
Samuel Johns (right) with film crew

Saturday, July 29, 2023 at 4 p.m. on KPBS 2 (not available on the PBS App)

"And Now We Rise" is a portrait of an exceptional young activist, Samuel Johns, motivated to help his Alaska Native community to lead sober, productive lives. Abandoned by his parents as a child and raised by numerous relatives, Samuel matured into a man who seeks to understand the roots of what happened within the larger context of historical trauma and loss of culture.

And Now We Rise: A Portrait of Samuel Johns preview

He is an “everyman” who heals and grows by stepping up to help others, and becomes revered by the community. He is able to use his skills and talents for public speaking, writing hip hop music, and creating the Facebook group, Forget Me Not, which connects those experiencing homelessness with far flung family members. This group has now grown to almost 25,000 members and as his success grows, Sam becomes emotionally drained, overwhelmed with facing so many heartaches and requests for help.


Seeing the national movement for Standing Rock, Sam travels to North Dakota to participate and learn from other activists, which revitalizes him. Over the course of the three years this documentary follows him, he is eventually able to return to his home village revisiting the source of so much childhood pain, and to speak to youth at his former high school where he is embraced as a hero.

Credits: Affinity films, Inc. Presented by Vision Maker Media