Welcome back to our monthly series of Things We’re Into, an update on everything CASA staff is buzzing about! We’re here as Certified Professional Enthusiasts to keep the series going with some ~super~ recommendations on movies, articles, and everything else in recent memory that pertains to our advocacy at CASA.
Aladdin has been a big hit with our staff, especially since many of us grew up with the original. We’re also fans of KUT’s “Hi, Who Are You” series that features Austin community members. And FX’s Pose offers a glimpse into the lives of a group of friends in New York who form their own family amid the AIDS epidemic in the 1980’s.
Read on to find out what else we’re into this July!
If your Netflix queue is running low, watch
Aladdin, now in theaters
“One thing I loved about it was the cultural awareness piece. You can see there are some ties to Bollywood, such as in the big dance number when they enter Agrabah. It was celebratory and empowering. I took my nephew who’s 4—after making him watch the original of course! I would definitely recommend volunteers taking the kids on their case to see this move.” – Alejandro Victoria, Director of Volunteer Admissions
“Turning Jasmine into a more powerful character was a really cool message. And I’ve always loved that Aladdin came from nothing and this is a story about him being enough. This is a fun movie that makes you laugh—I recommend taking kids!” – Bree Taylor, Senior Volunteer Relations Specialist
“I loved it! They did a really great job incorporating the old version with the new and updating it to fit current issues. Will Smith did a great job as Genie and I found myself dancing along with my little niece the whole time. The cast did a great job in making all of their characters stand out as individuals.” – Kayla Tatum, Child Advocacy Specialist
Pose, streaming on FX and Netflix
“The backdrop of the show is during the AIDS epidemic. There’s a character, Frankie, who talks about being in foster care in the show. It encapsulates the idea of people who don’t feel wanted and have no place to call their home. In the very first episode, a character gets kicked out of his home for being gay. So, he moves to New York and forms his own family. I think that’s what this show is really about—your chosen family.” – Alejandro Victoria, Director of Volunteer Admissions
Spider-Man: Far From Home, now in theaters
"Spider-Man: Far From Home picks up in the aftermath of Avengers: Endgame. Everyone is trying to find a new “normal,” and many seem to be succeeding, except Peter Parker. He wrestles with his true identity: can he just be a high school teenager and your small-town friendly neighborhood Spider-Man, or is he a true Avenger ready to take up Iron Man’s mantle and save the world? Far From Home’s themes of identity and the ever-elusive normalcy can resonate with all of us who are still learning to embrace our own stories. Side note: the visuals are fantastic too!"
And don't forget to sign up for the 10th annual CASA Superhero Run, happening Sunday, September 15 at Broadmoor Campus. Inspired by this young Avenger, and in honor of our 10th race, we've launched the Kids Council of Heroes this year to let Austin's youngest share their superpowers (and win prizes!).
The Last Black Man in San Francisco, now in theaters
"The Last Black Man in San Francisco is really worth watching. It's a stunning and creative film that really looks at the pull of home and history and the long-term impact on a man's life when that is taken away from him. The film focuses on gentrification, housing inequality, and many factors that affect parents and families in the Child Protective Services system." – Callie Langford, Director of Communications
If you want to get to know your community a little better, listen to
KUT’s “Hi, Who Are You?” series, specifically Who Is The Man In Southwest Austin Who Fostered Over 100 Babies With His Wife?
“Burrell and his wife, Leanna, who died five years ago, had two kids of their own. She was a social worker and familiar with foster care programs. Burrell says he had only one worry when Leanna brought up the idea. ‘She liked children. She liked babies particularly, and I was a little concerned she would want to adopt all the children that would walk through our door,’ he says. ‘I had this vision of driving the family around in one of these big, yellow school buses.’ Shortly after they were approved as foster parents, they got their first baby…Over the next 36 years, the family would take in nearly 200 newborns for a few months at a time—sometimes longer.” – Nadia Hamdan, KUT
If you’re on the hunt for a good read, check out
A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
“This is absolutely one of the most stunning and devastating books I have ever read. It focuses heavily on the impacts of childhood trauma and how they can reverberate throughout an individual’s lifetime and the lives of those around them. It’s a beautiful and hard story to read. I will say that since reading it, it has been challenging to find a book that can live up to it.” – Callie Langford, Director of Communications
2019 CASA Recommends July