The Year of Moving Forward

The Year of Moving Forward
At our 4 person wedding reception in DC

Friday, November 9, 2007

More Violence...and Good News for Gays

More Americans than ever are supportive of civil unions for gays and lesbians, while the majority are still against full marriage rights. 55% believe rights equal to those afforded to opposite sex married couples should be given to same sex couples, accoding to an ABC News/ Washington Post Poll.
Article . Artur, take note.

A 16 year old Bessemer kid has been charged in the most recent shooting in Brighton. Related to the other recent shootings in Brighton? Probably. Tied to Bessemer violence? Probably.

I had a column in The Western Tribune about youth violence, that I don't think I posted on here. In the column, I offer to lend out a DVD about Youth Violence produced by June Mack about the roots of youth violence and solutions. No one has contacted me...does that mean that youth violence is not considered a problem? (No comments about no one reading my column, please).

Here is the column:

I spent a day last week at UAB attending a seminar on Understanding Youth Violence. Several members of the Bessemer Neighborhood Association were able to attend thanks to cooperation between the organization and councilman Earl Cochran.

Several well qualified speakers presented results of studies and research involving students from Birmingham, Bessemer, Shelby County and other school districts. They also presented programs that can be delivered through schools and in counseling along with evidence that these programs work to lower rates of violence in families, schools and communities.

While some of their results were expected, some were surprising, such as fifth grade students in Shelby County being more likely (28%) to be a victim of violence than fifth grade students in Birmingham (20%). But what was not surprising is that violence among children spreads across all demographics, and Bessemer is no exception. The perception, and the reality, is that violence among youth in Bessemer is too common, and several shootings over the last few months provide evidence of this. In fact, the Bessemer Neighborhood Association initially formed after one such shooting in order to bring attention to violence and to seek solutions to the problem.

The program included a presentation by filmmaker June Mack whose two films The Voices of Youth Violence and Youth Violence: Inside the Skin explore violence through both a documentary approach and a dramatic subjective approach.

For the documentary Mack and her students interviewed gang members, incarcerated youth, innocent students, police, parents, teachers and psychologists. They used these “voices” as the basis for the dramatic story of the other film.

The makers of the film are part of a Birmingham organization called The Youth Violence Project, and are planning to use the films in workshops in various communities.

Bessemer should be one of these communities, and the Bessemer Neighborhood Association will be inviting June Mack and her group to visit our city for one of their two day workshops.

In the meantime, we will have a copy of the DVD, and will share it with other community groups, schools or churches that want to view it. To reserve the movie contact me through the web site listed below or by calling this newspaper.


So, don't you think June and her group, and this movie, could be beneficial toward reducing violence in our community?

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