McKiernan: Creating a spiritual bridge from MLK to China

Linda Sturesson, Staff Writer

The ongoing questions of City College students kept Kevin McKiernan, journalist and filmmaker, for an hour longer at his Q-and-A session.

His documentary “Bringing King to China” was screened Thursday in Physical Science Room 101.

The film follows his 27-year-old daughter, Caitrin McKiernan, who produced a play in Chinese about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

“Making this movie was an attempt to create a spiritual bridge between China and America,” Kevin McKiernan said, “to make us better understand each other.”

The play was put together in 2006 at a time when the producer found that Chinese people would not be as receptive to Americans as they had been in the past because of the conflict in Iraq.

She worked as a teacher in Beijing. After her failed protests against the conflict in Iraq, she felt the need to enlighten the Chinese of an America that has King’s vision of non-violence and peace.

The producer raised $200,000 from friends, family, and people who supported King for the play. She was sponsored by Stanford University, where she graduated in 2002.

“Sometimes I can’t believe how much effort she actually put in to make this play about King,” Kevin McKiernan said, “but it was all about bringing cultures together and it means a lot to her.”

The effort paid off. His daughter has been recognized in several newspapers and TV programs in America. The play has been presented in numerous different countries. It was even translated into Arabic.

In honor of King and Black History Month, the City College departments of American ethnic studies, global studies, political sciences, school of modern languages (Chinese program), and journalism presented the film.

Editor’s Note:  This article was originally published February 8, 2012.