A ray of hope prevailed in Baltimore City as the Kennedy Krieger Institute: Center for Child and Family Traumatic Stress brought together students, trauma experts, and community groups to screen two mini-documentaries March 22, 2018 at the Parkway Theatre. About 50 persons attended.
The students from the Trauma Stress Center created the videos with the help of New Lens, “a youth-driven social justice organization that makes art and media about issues where a youth perspective can inspire change.”
Break the Chain; the first video screened showed how middle school students through the Kennedy Krieger program come together to face violence and abuse.
The video begins with the middle school film creators explaining the mission of the video. “There are a lot of events throughout this video. They might make you emotional or angry. This video shows how we come together in group therapy to face violence and abuse,” they said.
The second film, “B’more Loving” expresses the sentiments of high school students living with gun violence.
“Everyday I look at the news and because of guns…. he barely missed me,” said one of the youth about facing gun violence in her neighborhood.
Another young person said, “I lost a cousin to gun violence and it still affects me.” “Life can be taken away in a snap,” said another youth. “It upsets me, and I try to forget about it. Then, it’s like “I am used to it,” another youth said.
Crevontaye Lee, one of the high school student producers of B’more Loving, said, “We created the film to show that guns are not the answer.”
After the video screenings, the creators of “B’more Loving” served on the first panel. Erricka Bridgeford of Baltimore Cease Fire; and James Timpson, of Safe Streets spoke of their organizations’ efforts to stem violence on the second panel.
Safe Streets is a City of Baltimore program that puts savvy street mediators in marginalized unsafe communities to prevent violence and to avoid police intervention. Erricka Bridgeford, director of the nonprofit Community Mediation program, created Baltimore Cease Fire to appeal for the end of gun violence murders over a 72-hour weekend. The program runs periodically.
Both panelists used colorful, audience-appealing language to describe their missions. Timmons talked of “thug recovery” and Bridgeford,” described the “Huxtables of the ghetto” using Bill Cosby’s television family sit-com.
Sarah Davis, a Kennedy Krieger Institute trauma therapist, who helped the youth pull together the video, defined violence as “an intentional act to cause harm to other people.”
Dr. Elizabeth Thompson, Assistant Vice President, and Director of the Kennedy Krieger Institute: Center for Child and Family Traumatic Stress underlined the mission and her passion for the work.
“We desire to provide high-quality treatment to underserved, and under-resourced youth to facilitate better-coping strategies,” Dr. Thompson said. “Traumatic stress is a significant event that happens to a child that overwhelms their psychological or physical ability to cope.”
Youth and parents in need of the Center’s services, should contact the intake coordinator at 443-923-5980 or email: Diggs@KennedyKrieger.org.