Slamdance Film Festival features Chicago’s Jahmal Cole


A charismatic activist works to build a better Chicago for the teens in his neglected community even if it comes at the cost of his home, his family, and his safety

By Elaine Hegwood Bowen, M.S.J.

The Slamdance Festival (February 12th-25th, 2021) features the world premiere of the insightful documentary “A Tiny Ripple of Hope.” 

Our world has seen inspiration in the actions of an individual – Stacey Abrams worked thru community to affect change in Georgia. Jahmal Cole with his My Block, My Hood, My City organization is bringing hope and opportunity to teenagers across Chicago’s segregated South and West sides. Cole is charismatic and charming, and the beating heart of his community–because he does care so very much (his home mortgage is used to fund his organization!) He is in the fight of his life as he battles to keep his home out of foreclosure, his marriage alive and himself out of harm’s way.

The moving and aspirational feature film documentary “A Tiny Ripple of Hope,” from award-winning Chicago filmmaker Jason Polevoi, will make its world premiere at this year’s Slamdance Film Festival (available to audiences in the U.S. and Canada through festival pass February 12th – 25th, 2021) as a Competition Documentary, and the film follows a formative year for Cole, as he struggles with everything he must sacrifice so that the people and the city he loves can prosper.

A champion of social justice, Cole’s mission is to build a more interconnected Chicago on the pillars of service and education. In 2018, Cole was named a Chicagoan of the Year by Chicago Magazine. In 2019, he was named to Crain’s 40 under 40, and in 2020 he was awarded the American Red Cross Community Impact Hero Award.

Jahmal Cole has been featured as the good news story for The Kelly Clarkson Show, Today Show, Live With Kelly & Ryan and the Obama Foundation.

“A Tiny Ripple of Hope” Trailer:

For festival information, visit

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