Shades of Leadership: A Short Film

In 2019, the Surge Institute produced a short film entitled Shades of Leadership, born out of a growing need for a piece of media that specifically calls out why it is so important to have transformative and connected leaders of color at the table when making decisions that impacts millions of children and communities in America.

While student populations and communities of color grow year after year in this country, there continues to be a blaring gap between the communities being served and the leaders serving them. This film seeks to shed light on the gap.

We filmed in several states and interviewed people from all walks of life, from students and educators to researchers and innovators, asking all of them about the importance of transformative leaders of color to the education space. As the project continued it grew and we received support from key voices like Gloria Ladson-Billings, Arne Duncan, Lin-Manuel Miranda.

The project was completed in September of 2019. Surge then took the film on the road, screening it privately for our alumni community, then sharing it at local screenings and panel discussions from Oakland to New York. The project built on our knowledge about the power of a strong narrative and the importance of lending our voice to the national zeitgeist.

As you experience Shades of Leadership, please consider your own role in transforming the education space for our youth and communities. And please take the time learn how you can be a part of the narrative!

To learn more about Surge, send us an email at We look forward to hearing from you!