The People's Money (2022-2023)
Your Money, Your Community, Your Voice.
Revitalizing Cinema Deserts in Black Communities. Transforming School Auditoriums in Canarsie!
What problem would you like to solve?
To address both the diminishment of cinemas and the lack of youth engagement in high-needs POC communities.
The project will leverage the potential of the cinematic experience to engage, inspire and empower youth.
This initiative acts as a youth violence deterrent using cinema exhibition and participatory youth curation and innovation to practice creative expression, critical thinking, social emotional wellness, cultural involvement as well as participate in civic-cultural, engagement and community.
This cinematic experience will materialize in spaces that already serve youth and have the capability to host events, school auditoriums, leaning further into the multipurpose capabilities of the space and natural resources in communities.
Why is it important to solve? Why is it relevant for the community?
My project is important because it’s a solution to a particular problem that has been expressed by my target demographic at local Youth Town Hall meetings. In 2018, highly regarded non profit organization, Canarsie Community Development Inc. held a Youth Town Hall for young adults ages 18-35 where participants expressed; needing events to keep them in Canarsie, wanting to be more involved in community planning, and wanting to see parks uplifted out of despair. In 2020 when applying for The New School Social Impact Entrepreneurship Fellowship I interviewed a handful of youth ages 14-19 in Canarsie where they shared identical statements and again most recently on March 21, 2022, the Canarsie Clergy in Canarsie held a Youth Town Hall allowing teens and young adults to share their concerns and solutions. One youth quoted Proverbs 16:27 Idle hands are the devil’s workshop; further elaborating that if youth don't have anything to do with their time, they will be more likely to get involved in trouble and criminality. Others stated that they no longer wanted to sit back marveling at artists with prosperous resources and clout but would like to gain skills and marvel at what they can bring to the creative table.
What idea do you have to address the problem?
A Cinema Exhibition Workshop in schools located in Canarsie will reflect the diversity of Canarsie with a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion with a community-centered approach. It will be an in school or afterschool workshop designed to provide meaningful arts engagement, support media literacy, and hone critical-thinking skills and social-emotional learning. Participants will also gain skills in problem-solving, communication, strategic planning, organization, community development, and hospitality. This power of moving images and exhibition will support representation, belonging, creative expression, and communication, to uplift, and build a deeper understanding of themselves, their neighbors and a sense of belonging in the media space. Furthermore, this workshop will encourage those that have been historically excluded in the cinema space to see a future where they develop their own storytelling spaces for all to experience.
Who would that help?
This preventive gang violence initiative is one way to heal the significant amount of historical trauma and terrible burden placed on families, neighborhoods, cities, and taxpayers but most importantly our youth, our future. Using the ineffable magic of film, media literacy and social engagement this initiative would positively activate and transform hotspots of crime activity into hotspots of youth creativity, by challenging the the risk factors and attractions that increase youth’s propensity to join gangs, with a movie screenings that are curated and produced by students in school auditoriums with an ongoing annual Summer cinema series located on school yards. I have identified with the support of the 69th precinct that hot spots of youth crime activity are often located near school campuses. To invite our youth, various community partners and creators of all kinds to take part in eventizing every facet of the school auditoriums and school yards would act as one solution. Film has ‘world-changing’ potential that has influenced culture, politics, laws, encouraged tolerance, evoked empathy and understanding and more importantly, has changed the course of history. Pop up cinema spaces in schools, a natural resource, will activate in different hotspots throughout Canarsie in a way to engage our youth in a fun and multisensory experience that will encourage innovative and strategic community design planning, bonding, healing through stories and visibility of youth activities. “It takes a village” is truly what is at stake.
What neighborhood would benefit from your idea?
All highly concentrated POC communities that have been historically underserved, with systematically disenfranchised youth and neighborhoods that face high youth crime rates.
List of Endorsements
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