Here is an opportunity to understand how guns are affecting our society -- not through regulation, speculation or political discourse, but through a much more intimate declaration: teens coping with the effects of guns in their everyday lives.
The students at Metropolitan High School, led by their dedicated teacher Aimee Cavazzi, were given a simple assignment: make a short documentary about your neighborhood and explore the social and economic issues you face in this community. Their videos are a unique and candid perspective on some of the most overlooked neighborhoods in the city. Through their videos, these students are effectively becoming citizen journalists of their communities, humanizing and heightening our understanding of their neighborhoods. They are reporting on issues and events passed over by the media. They are taking the time to reflect and consider their options -- accept the way things are or work to change them.
The last time MyBlockNYC visited Metropolitan High School there had been a drive-by shooting on an adjacent block a few nights prior. Victims of gun violence in these neighborhoods are often unintended targets. A Family Remembers Their Daughter explores one family's tragic loss and their hopeful yet chilling response to a local gang shooting.
Students in every school MyBlockNYC works with express fear and apprehension about their neighborhoods. The student that produced Reflections on 149th Street and Southern Blvd filmed the entire video from her window. Invariably, in almost every school MyBlockNYC works with, students ask if they can film from their window; it's just too dangerous on the street.
MyBlockNYC is not promoting a solution or an agenda on local issues, but merely trying to empower the youth of NYC to be able to use video to share personal stories on this topic and others, and, with these videos, allow the public a better understanding of how guns directly impact communities in NYC. We believe there is a difference between reading an article about a shooting in a newspaper and seeing a high-school student point to the bullet holes in the front door of her apartment (My Neighborhood Is Not Safe).
We want these three videos below to speak for themselves. We hope this blog can be a way to exhibit not our opinions, but to enable students from the five boroughs to share their powerful and intimate perspectives through video.