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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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#ThisIsBaltimore

On April 28, 2015 – a day after Baltimore made headlines around the world for its collective response to the death of Freddie Gray – Wide Angle Youth Media students and staff were compelled to use their documentary skills to project positive images of Baltimore youth. Over the past year, Wide Angle Youth Media collected photographs at spring protests and through workshops at schools, libraries and organizations in more than 15 neighborhoods. The result is this compilation of youth produced photographs that show a city filled with hope, vitality and resilience.  This online publication is free for anyone to view, and over 200 hardcover copies of this book have been delivered to participating workshop sites, students, donors, community members, and a selection of local universities and libraries.


In addition to the book release, students in Wide Angle Youth Media’s advanced high school production program, the Mentoring Video Project, have created 9 audio stories reflecting on a memory from the past year.

Last spring, media producers across the world – many of whom had never before set foot in the city – flocked to Baltimore to cover its unrest following the death of Freddie Gray. In the wake of this activity, I felt urgent pride in the work happening at Wide Angle Youth Media (Wide Angle). While many media organizations were portraying the city in a negative light, Wide Angle was empowering students to continue sharing their stories with greater context.

In the months that followed, I challenged my students to think about what role they played in taking ownership of their narratives. Each student’s perspective and outlook on their surrounding environment is a reflection of their individual experiences in Baltimore. Students discussed in what ways the media failed to share highlights across the city beyond Freddie Gray and protests. And while we continued to reflect on the significance of the events of April 2015, we also began sharing personal momentums and achievements that added to Baltimore’s history in 2015. From winning a sports tournament to identity conflicts during the protests to attending anime conventions — these small moments represent a larger image of how its youth are participating in and contributing to the city’s lifeline.

Based on these discussions, Wide Angle producers from the Mentoring Video Project produced a collection of events that impacted them throughout the year. They reflect on the larger community values and records, that cannot be replaced with big media. – Mawish Raza, MVP Lead Instructor

TUNE IN TO THE MENTORING VIDEO PROJECT MEMORY BANK HERE

Niajea Victor Tayvon Tahir Sama marissa Logan Kendall Kamen Kailah


Support for This Is Baltimore has been made possible by: Baltimore Community Foundation’s Rebuilding Baltimore Fund, Baltimore Office of Promotion & the Arts, Enoch Pratt Free Library, Maryland Humanities Council’s Humanities Fund for Baltimore, Maryland Public Television, Maryland State Arts Council, MurthyNAYAK Foundation, and Open Society Institute-Baltimore. Over 150 students, staff, community members, and volunteers also helped bring this project to life.

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Interested in purchasing a hardcover book of your own? E-mail info@wideanglemedia.org.

Posted March 15th, 2016 in Baltimore, Blog, Homepage, News, Slider, Uncategorized by waym
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The Twilight Phone

There is a future that is destined for society. It is a future that revolves around a single inanimate object that does a lot, but does very little. It keeps users in touch with everybody, but no one. It keeps eyes down and causes poor posture. It is the middle ground between reality and cyberspace. This is our future. It is an area which we call the Twilight Phone.

This video was created by participants in Wide Angle Youth Media’s Baltimore Speaks Out! Program at the Patterson Park Public Charter School.

Youth Producers:
Joelle Barnes, Bethel Crouse, Markell Foster, Brianna Hoyt-Cooper, Lill Hoyt-Copper, Amaris Johnson, Antonio Johnson, Tayvon Lane, Ryan Lee, Jaimira Parran, Joy Sanders, Ty’Quan Smith, Avery Stewart, Dassan Thomas, Darrin Yancey, Kelly Zamudio-Rosales

Posted June 2nd, 2015 in Baltimore, Blog, Homepage, News, Slider, Video by waym
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Capital Campaign

Wide Angle Youth Media is proud to announce we are expanding and renovating our current office space in Miller’s Court! In the coming months we will share with you before and after images. We would like to thank the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development for awarding Wide Angle Youth Media with a generous Neighborhood Business Grant.

Additional Capital Campaign Support has been provided by:

      An Anonymous Donor
      Clayton Baker Trust
      The Henry and Ruth Blaustein Rosenberg Foundation
      Constellation Energy
      The France-Merrick Foundation
      Seawall Development

If you are interested in learning more about supporting Wide Angle’s Capital Campaign, four room naming opportunities remain. Please email Wide Angle’s Executive Director, Susan Malone at susan@wideanglemedia.org for more information. We are tentatively planning an official unveiling of the new space in the late spring. In the meantime, thank you for your patience while we are currently under construction!

Posted January 7th, 2015 in Blog, Homepage, News, Slider, Uncategorized by waym
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Free Running in Baltimore

Tyson Sanford-Griffin is a young man that loves free running and parkour, activities that involve finding acrobatic ways of moving through urban spaces. However, in this short film, Tyson explains how he often feels unsafe doing his favorite activity in his native city of Baltimore, MD.

Created in the fall of 2013 in Wide Angle Youth Media’s Mentoring Video Project, this film also won “Best Story Promoting a Cause Related to Youth or Science, Technology, Engineering, or Math” in TechSoup’s 2014 Storymakers contest!

Posted October 27th, 2014 in Baltimore, Blog, Homepage, News, Slider, Video by waym
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Join Us On The Set!

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Wide Angle Youth Media invites you to join us for On The Set, a fundraiser and art auction offering a behind-the-scenes experience and conversations with industry experts from award-winning TV, film and radio productions.

Come rub elbows with some of the industry’s top producers, directors and other behind-the-scenes professionals who make TV, film and radio productions possible. And support the future of this fascinating industry – Wide Angle Youth Media youth Producers!

Our host Aaron Henkin, co-creator and producer of “The Signal” on WYPR, and featured speaker Mario Armstrong, national TV/radio host and digital technology expert, will join other industry VIPs, including:

  • Jessica Baroody, Props
  • Richard Chisolm, Cinematographer
  • Ramona Diaz, Filmmaker
  • Jessica Desvarieux, Host and Producer
  • Ann Hornaday, Film Critic
  • Sheena Jones, Associate Producer
  • Nina Noble, Executive Producer
  • Nick Noble, SFX Makeup
  • Jason Noble, Grip Assistant
  • Matt Porterfield, Director
  • Stewart Stack, Serious Grip & Electric
  • Marc Steiner, Radio Host
  • Errol Webber, Filmmaker
  • Debi Young, Makeup Artist
  • Bill Zorzi, Screenwriter

On the Set will be held on Thursday, April 24, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Real News Network, 235 Holliday St., Baltimore, Md., 21202. Tickets are $60 and include food and drinks.

Get your tickets today!

Posted April 18th, 2014 in Blog, Homepage, News, Slider by waym