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Baltimore CityLab 2017: Youth Perspective

 
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Joelle Faison is a youth producer at Wide Angle Youth Media.
She goes to Bard High School Early College and
aspires to be a Filmmaker in the future.  
 
 

I was fortunate enough to attend the CityLab on August 2, 2017 at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Parkway Theater.,  As I listened to a lot of panel discussions, I also took pictures. The event explored key issues and opportunities that impact cities like Baltimore. The event was organized by The Aspen Institute, Atlantic Live, and Bloomberg Philanthropies and I felt this event was successful and insightful.

Walking into the Parkway theater where the event was held, I sort of felt out of place because everyone there looked like important people. They were wearing suits and were grouped up talking about smart complex topics while laughing and eating homemade potato chips. While there I am, holding a camera bag and wearing an outfit I borrowed from my mom. Besides all that it was still a pretty tight set up and it felt like a privilege to be around so many important people like the Annie E. Casey Foundation and Open Society Institute-Baltimore who were the Underwriters for the evening . I liked each panel a lot and each were important topics to talk about, like the vacant housing problem also known as Blight, and how one city came together to create an art installation called #BrightLights to raise awareness on the issue.

But the panel that stuck out to me was Battling Opioids: Lessons from the Front Lines with Nicole Alexander-Scott, Michael Botticelli, Josh Scharstein, and Leana Wen . What I really enjoyed about this panel was when they said that we need to start looking at substance abuse as a disease, not a crime. Instead of being in jail for it, how about we focus on getting help for people with drug addictions. I can relate because I have a family member who is recovering from substance abuse. Luckily they checked into rehab, underwent a treatment program, and did not have to go to jail. I don’t know how my life would be if they got jail time for using drugs. They are so important to my life, and if they were in jail I would probably be a different person.

Another thing they talked about was the stigma around labels and words used towards people who abuse drugs. Words like “drug addict” or “junkie and being “dirty” because you are using  drugs. These words of course have a negative impact on the person. It can lead to discrimination against people that do drugs, and treats them like  untouchables instead of people who need treatment and support. I asked some of the attendees of the event and asked them what they would prefer to call someone that used drugs that was a bit more positive. “Human being” was the answer they gave me also saying that there doesn’t need to be labels put on people.

Scot Spencer, Associate Director of Advocacy and Influence at the Annie E. Casey Foundation, said something that stuck with me after the event:

“We tend to use words that demonize rather than humanize, and demonizing is just as effective in certain ways public policy strategy for punitive actions and humanizing can be for supportive actions supportive policies…”

The way I understood it was that we use words to demonize drug users, so it’s easier to put these people in jail because no one is really going to think twice about it. But if we as a society used more terms to make these people look human then we would have less people in jail and more people getting treatment.

 

 

Posted August 8th, 2017 in Baltimore, Blog, Homepage, News, Slider by waym
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Summer MediaWorks Project Highlight: Street Photography & Narratives

Students in Wide Angle’s Summer MediaWorks Program participated in a one week workshop on Street Photography and Photo Narrative. Students explored the Baltimore communities of Remington, Old Goucher, and Station North and visited a variety of small business. Students asked individuals that they met along the way what advice they had for career paths, and college readiness. Below are a small selection of those stories.

Nathaniel Jackson By Ayanna and Takira

 “I used to advocate for a Non- Profit on 25th and Charles St., under the leadership of Michelle Kelly, the executive director of Alternative Direction. They were on a panel fighting for women serving Life. I was on the board of directors for the organization called Out For Justice. I was incarcerated, I did 10 and a half years and I cleaned my act up, I had a drug habit, I couldn’t read, I couldn’t write. I was struggling getting my SSI and a place to stay. When I went to jail, I learned how to read and write, got a couple trades done. And I got out and gave back to the community, that was my way of giving back for the bad choices and bad decisions I made. Helping men and women coming out off that are struggling. I also helped myself by staying Clean and my blessings came I got my SSI and I got my house, I been here for 7 years. I never went to college. I fell a victim to the disease of addiction. I was in and out of recovery centers and reform schools. Elijah Cummings really helped me when I was prison, I wrote him and he took an interest in me and I couldn’t let him down so I got out of prison and I graduated from Alternative Direction, then I stayed on the board.”

Gagan Singh By Will and Laurell

“I started working at Red Emma’s in August of 2016. I went to University of Maryland Baltimore County. While I was there my major was actually English and even though it has nothing to do with cooking or owning a business. I could definitely apply the things I learned from it, like social and critical thinking skills to the work that I do now. I come from a long line of teachers so when I was little that’s what I thought I was going to do. But as I got older and as I started to interact with the community, I realized that I wanted more hands on experiences with the community. I also really love cooking so for me working at Red Emma’s checked off all of those boxes. I get to interact with the community, make awesome food and also be apart of this amazing group of people that work here.To high school students I would say take some time to figure out what your creative outlets are. The older you get the more responsibilities you gain and those creative outlets are what ground you. So what ever it is, like photography or writing or cooking, or maybe it’s being outside. Nourish those while you’re in high school and don’t be afraid to try different things. That’s the amazing thing about the generation we grow up in we can apply what we learned in school to any career we go into.”

Larry Smith By Deshaun and Gyasi

“I got a 17 year old daughter bout to go to college, one more year of high school. My one daughter does modeling, she into modeling my other daughter into fashion. I got a stepson, play football in college in Virginia he’s a wide receiver and quarterback. (I played) just a little bit but the streets took over at a young age. I always do stuff for the kids. It’s always something better out here. It’s rough out here today. It is really rough on our young youth out here today with all these killings. That’s the hard part keeping them out of that situation, you know. I like to see this they doing something positive.

I went to Lake Clifton High School. No, I didn’t make it to college, didn’t get my high school diploma in school; got that in prison. I didn’t gradate from high school, but I did get my GED, that’s a blessing. Sooo… It’s never too late.

Right now I’m the warehouse supervisor – I run everything that comes in and outta here. I’m try’na get another job, try’na always stay working. I grew up in East Baltimore, Harford road. Yeh. To me nowadays they just push our kids through school. So you know that’s like real tough on me and I stay hard on my kids in school because I know how they do in school now. When I went to school a 80 was passing now you only need a 60 to pass in school so…. It sucks, it really do. Some schools ya know, you got some people really who put their all, the side teacher really put their all, but then you got some teachers that just [are] like ok let’s get them outta here you know, so that’s definitely a big difference in the school system today. It’s about our young youth and they dying quick, they dying quick. It’s a shame.

When I was young I was like all other kids – thought I was gonna grow up to be a firemen or police man. Hehehe. But that didn’t work out so these days you just gotta go where you fit in at. Especially wit a guy like me, guys like us out here. Alotta guys like me wit records you know that’s why I say finish school, please, finish school. Stay outta this prison system cause that is not the place, it is not the place. Go to college. Do what you need to do. Provide for your family, if you make a family, if not just stay in your own lane. Stay strong, stay positive. Don’t let nobody tell you you can’t do want you wanna do if you put your mind to it. Anything out here you wanna do, just gotta stay motivated and push and have that family support.”

 

 

Posted July 21st, 2017 in Baltimore, Blog, Homepage, News by waym
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“Save My School”, A short film by Wide Angle Youth Apprentices

Youth-Led Rally Held to Prevent Budget Cuts
Baltimore, Maryland

On Thursday March 2, students, teachers, and government employees gathered at War Memorial Plaza to protest the impending $130-million-dollar budget cut that Baltimore City Public Schools are facing. The rally was led by highschool students, in coordination with the Baltimore Algebra Project. Youth leaders led chants, recited original poetry, and told personal stories about the importance of education.

The rally created an opportunity for unity across generations, and Wide Angle Youth Producers Destiny Brown and Tahir Juba worked with Production Director David Sloan to document this solidarity. The end product is a video composed of candid footage from the rally and video portraits of protesters. The footage is accompanied by an original poem about the importance of education and having one’s voice heard, written by Baltimore City high school student Imani Turner.

This video was created by Wide Angle Youth Producers to send a powerful message to all who watch: that the citizens of Baltimore will not go down without a fight. There has still not been any news of a definitive solution to stop the budget cuts, and it is now the job of every single person in Baltimore to show local and state officials that this is not acceptable.

Join in on the fight for our education by sharing this video on social media to spread the word that Baltimore matters.

#FixTheGap

Posted March 8th, 2017 in Baltimore, Blog, Homepage, News, Video by waym
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ABC’s not Suspension

By Bobbi Sanford-Maddox and Gyasi Mitchell. Bobbi is a senior at Dulaney High school and a member of the Wide Angle Design Team. Gyasi is a freshman at City Neighbors High school, a member of the Wide Angle Design Team and likes videography.

During the 2015-2016 school year 2,363 Pre-K through 2nd grade students were suspended in Maryland. When Wide Angle’s Design Team found out about this we thought it was absurd. The amount of students suspended in one school year was unbelievable.

We worked with the Maryland Coalition To Reform School Discipline to learn more and brainstorm ideas. To get the attention of the legislators we created the door hangers to persuade legislators to vote for House Bill 425 in Annapolis, Maryland. The bill was created to prevent and prohibit pre-k through 2nd grade students from getting suspended or expelled. Students should go to school to learn, not to be kicked out for small offenses.

We were excited to work on this project because we feel that to many students in Baltimore are being suspended. Our hopes are to stop the rate of suspensions and expulsions overall.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted March 7th, 2017 in Baltimore, Blog, Homepage, News, Uncategorized by waym
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Listen Up! Never Give Up!

In the Fall of 2017, middle school students at the Baltimore Speaks Out program Patterson Park Public Charter School branch created a short film about pursuing success in school and life.

Youth Producers:
Jodi Aryee
Dejuan Barrett
Diyonia Barrett
Terrell Breeden
Maria Foreman
Desireemarie Garcia
Yahir Garcia
Yoselin Gasia-Lopez
Nicolas Graves
Shabria Hart
Emynie Hill
Ja’Niya Joseph
Omarion Lopez
Jonathan Magill
Daniela Rodriguez
Ty’Jai Smith
Tayon Terry
Ryan Trogdon

Posted January 13th, 2017 in Baltimore, Blog, Homepage, News by waym
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NEVER LATE NATE: An Attendance Superhero

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Around 1 in 4 Baltimore City pre-kindergarten and kindergarten students are chronically absent, meaning they miss 10% or more of the school year (Baltimore Student Attendance Campaign (November 1, 2011). Opportunity Scan: Attendance in the Early Grades (PreK-3)). Chronic absenteeism in pre-kindergarten and kindergarten can predict lower test scores, poor attendance and retention in later grades. (Attendance Works. Attendance in the Early Grades.)

Unfortunately, few tools exist to raise awareness of the importance of attendance in the early grades and to support students and parents in building healthy attendance habits.

When students in Wide Angle Youth Media’s Design Team learned about the shockingly high absenteeism rate among Baltimore’s youngest learners, they felt compelled to do something about it. Their solution? Kid friendly attendance superheroes, Never Late Nate and Never Late Kate.

Never Late Nate is a campaign created by the Wide Angle Design Team in collaboration with students, teachers, and non-profits. To insure the success of the campaign, students in the Design Team read articles on the importance of school attendance in the early grades, brainstormed ideas, explored best practices for kid-friendly design, created student personas, met with teachers and early childhood experts, and conducted a focus group with pre-kindergarten students.

Our Never Late Nate toolkit below includes a short animated series, a free Never Late Nate game, an attendance activity book, and downloadable resources such as classroom posters and daily checklists.

To learn more about Never Late Nate or purchase printed materials for your school, please contact info@wideanglemedia.org

 

Never late nate EPISODE one:

Attendance superhero Never Late Nate is preparing for another successful day at school when his cat Fluffy alerts him that there is a student on the verge of being late. Nate flies over to help but learns that the student in need is not the only person waiting for him…

Never Late Nate episode TWO:

Never Late Nate comes to Kate’s rescue in the long awaited second episode of Never Late Nate!

Never Late Nate Activity Book:

This Never Late Nate Activity Book was developed by young people in Wide Angle Youth Media’s Design Team in collaboration with AARP Foundation Experience Corps. 

Never Late Nate Game:

Get the App! Help Never Late Nate get to school on time in the Never Late Nate game available HERE.

The Never Late Nate game was designed by young people in a Wide Angle Youth Media workshop and developed by young people at Code in the Schools. This special project was supported by the Casey Fund for Youth Leadership of the Baltimore Community Foundation.

d0wnloadable RESOURCES:

THIS work WAS MADE POSSIBLE BY:

Open Society Institute-Baltimore
The Baltimore School Climate Collaborative
Baltimore Education Research Consortium
AARP Foundation Experience Corps
Wide Angle Youth Media

Posted September 27th, 2016 in Baltimore, Blog, Homepage, News, Uncategorized by waym
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Baltimore Through Our Eyes

 

In spring 2016, high school students from Wide Angle Youth Media’s Mentoring Video Project decided to make a video highlighting the positive side of Baltimore and breaking negative stereotypes of their city.

Youth Producers:
Marc Cruise, Tahir Juba, Natasha Martin, Joshua Moore, Sama Muhammad, Kaman Rogers

Posted August 29th, 2016 in Baltimore, Blog, Homepage, News, Video by waym
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After Freddie Gray: What Now?

In spring 2016, high school students at Wide Angle Youth Media decided to explore how the Baltimore Uprising in response to Freddie Gray’s death has impacted different youth-serving organizations. Hear from different voices about what is being done in Baltimore in the aftermath to shape supports for youth in the city.

Mentoring Video Project Youth Producers:
Victor Able
Tayvon Cole
Katia Crawford
Kailah Hall
William Mitchell
Niajea Randolph

Posted August 29th, 2016 in Baltimore, Blog, Homepage, News, Video by waym
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Intern Perspective: Kaitlin Winchester

I started college just outside of Baltimore in 2013 and before then I could count my trips to the city on one hand. Coming here I wanted to feel like part of the city, but I didn’t know how to find my footing. A professor in my Media and Communication Studies program would talk about this great non-profit called Wide Angle Youth Media and as I learned more I knew I had to get involved, but I wasn’t sure where to start. I put off getting involved until Wide Angle hosted a workshop at a conference I was attending. Long story short, I attended their workshop and learned more about their impact and what they do, so I applied for an internship and here I am writing this blog post!

Starting, I knew I wanted to learn things like how Wide Angle interacts with social media and works with sponsors for their programs. After my internship began I learned about other ways I could get involved, like helping with the Youth Photography Traveling Exhibit (YPTE) that travels to Farmers’ Markets around the city.

On my first day I helped go through and package 100 copies of the book “This Is Baltimore,” that were created with portraits from YPTE. What struck me was the motivation behind the YPTE that resulted in the book. During and after the Baltimore uprising, students and staff felt the need to portray Baltimore youth positively, contrary to the image that was constructed by the media. As someone not originally from the city, this is not an issue that often dawns on me. So I decided to begin volunteering with pop-up exhibits at Farmers’ Markets displaying the portraits around the city. Displaying the photos in public spaces in addition to galleries is really important because not everyone has the access or time to go to an art gallery. These exhibits allow exposure for the incredible talent the youth participants have and give us the opportunity to spread the word about how other students can get involved.

We’ll be at three upcoming Farmers’ Markets:

  • The Baltimore Museum of Industry Market on Saturday July 30th from 9AM-1PM
  • The Downtown Market on Sunday July 31 from 7AM to Noon
  • The Waverly Market on Saturday September 17 from 7AM to Noon

I encourage everyone to brave the heat and come see me at the Downtown Market this Sunday!

kaitlin About Kaitlin:

I am about to start my fourth (and hopefully last) year at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. I am working toward a double major in Media and Communication Studies and International Relations with a certificate in French. After my internship I intend to stay involved with Wide Angle because I really believe in their mission and everyone here, from participants to staff, are truly amazing and have taught me so much in just two months.

Posted July 29th, 2016 in Baltimore, Blog, Homepage, News, Uncategorized by waym
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Safe Spaces

Students from the Baltimore Speaks Out Program at Patterson Park Public Charter School share things that they find funny, things that they like, and things that they worry about when it comes to being a young person in Baltimore.

Baltimore Speaks Out Youth Producers:
Faith Carter-Topp
Desiree Garcia
Ceaser Jimenez-Zamudio
Malachi Jones
Ja’Niya Joseph
Joyce Kasiama
Omarion Lopez
Daniela Rodriguez
Ty’Jai Smith

Baltimore Speaks Out Assistant Youth Producers:
Maria Foreman
Ma’Kyah Gyant
Na’Kayah Hunt
Calin Jones
Joyce Kasiama
Sanai Matthews
Dallas Solomon
Jabez Solomon
Karon Williams

 

Posted June 7th, 2016 in Baltimore, Blog, Homepage, News, Uncategorized, Video by waym