Performing Statistics and Art 180 teamed up with youth from the Richmond Detention Center to create sh
Performing Statistics and Art 180 teamed up with youth from the Richmond Detention Center to create short films for a PSA about the juvenile justice system to show legislators, police officers and teachers around the area the world through the eyes of incarcerated youth.
This summer, incarcerated youth were partnered with local filmmakers OK Keyes, Elizabeth Williams, Ben Surber, and Craig Zirpolo. Each teen thought up the story they wanted to tell, story boarded their idea and filmed a short video.
“We had questions and our question was ‘what would keep youth free?’” said Mark Strandquist, Project Director for Performing Statistics, “The films are the responses to that question.”
Each short film is each youth’s own story. One of the youths wrote his script about the three generations of family members who have been incarcerated. He wrote about what the cycle of incarnation has done to his family and how it has impacted him. Some students have written about their families struggle with money and the frustration of not being able to get jobs to help support their loved ones.
The films will be shared on social media pages and distributed to schools to spark conversation and action about what their schools can do to keep their schools fair and just. The films will also be used to help educate members of the police department.
“We’re training the entire police force this year using police training manuals the youth have made and the PSA will be a part of the training as well,” said Strandquist, “Officers across the city will watch the videos.”
This summer is Performing Statistics’ second summer working with incarcerated youth. In addition to making short films, the students make various forms of art and talk with local artists, legal experts and formerly incarcerated adults for mentorship.
“Part of our partnership with Art 180, the youth are able to leave the detention center for an eight-week art social justice program. They get to wear their own clothes and there are no guards in the room,” said Strandquist, “It’s really important that when they are with us they are as much of themselves as they deserved to be.”
The videos will be released in one of the first police training sessions on August 24th. On August 26th, there will a community forum with the youths art on display and the public can see the short films for the first time. The videos will find their way into schools and the Performing Statistics website in September.