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Indigenous Perspective
Public Trust in the US-American Society

From the film “On the Road to Change” – Impressions of Los Angeles
From the film “On the Road to Change” – Impressions of Los Angeles | Photo (detail): © Thomas Mann House Los Angeles

Many minorities in Los Angeles, particularly the Black communities, distrust the federal government and organise themselves. The German journalist Mohamed Amjahid discusses with the artist Joel Garcia and the Professor of Communication Robin Stevens how the trust in politics could be restored.

The video series On the Road to Change brings people in Los Angeles, Berlin, Athens and New Delhi into conversation about what democracies can learn from the pandemic.

In the fifth episode, journalist and Thomas Mann Fellow Mohamed Amjahid talks with Robin Stevens, professor of communication at the University of Southern California, and artist Joel Garcia about the kind of structural reforms that are needed to increase the trust of minorities in politics. In Garcia's truck, they visit places as diverse as a COVID test site, social housing projects and a cemetery in East Los Angeles.

“On the Road to Change” is a cooperation of the Goethe-Institut and Thomas Mann House Los Angeles. Concept: Leonhard Emmerling, Nikolai Blaumer, Stefanie Peter Editors: Nikolai Blaumer, Benno Herz Post-production: Boris Schaarschmidt Graphic design: Hannes Drissner, Hanna Viellehner


Mohamed Amjahid was born as the son of so-called guest workers in Frankfurt am Main in 1988. He studied political science in Berlin and Cairo. After completing his master’s degree Amjahid worked for several large German newspapers. He is now a freelance investigative journalist currently working on several new book projects. His latest book is Der weiße Fleck (Piper Verlag). Amjahid is a 2022 Fellow at the Thomas Mann House in Los Angeles.

Joel Garcia is an artist, arts administrator, and cultural organiser with over 20 years of experience working transnationally focusing on community-centred strategies. His approach is rooted in Indigenous-based forms of dialoguing and non-hierarchical decision making that uplifts non-institutional expertise. Joel uses art and organising to raise awareness of issues facing underserved communities, inner-city youth, and other targeted populations.

Robin Stevens is the director of the Health Equity and Media Lab at the University of Southern California. She is a health communication scholar working to achieve health equity in African American and Latinx communities in the United States. Stevens uses digital epidemiology to investigate youth well-being, sexual health, mental health, and substance use in the context of the digital neighbourhood. She received her AB from Harvard College, MPH from the University of Michigan, and PhD from the Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania.