While there's been plenty of media coverage of politicians and lawmakers talking about gun control, it's easy to grow insensitive to the violent realities some Americans live with on a day-to-day basis. 35 out of every 100,000 young black men between the ages of 18 to 24 years old are killed by homicide. Some forget about these issues as quickly as headlines change, but others choose to take ownership and do something about it.
One such group is the Peacekeepers Global Initiative. These amazing volunteers work with at-risk-youth, particularly young black men, and teach them to accept and then excel in their role as protectors and maintainers of families. This group of dedicated volunteers is re-vamping the image of the “angry black man” one community at a time.
This organization caught my attention for many reasons. For one, it's a group of ordinary people coming together to make a difference. Secondly, my own upbringing is similar to many of the youth impacted by this organization.
I was born and raised in the “hood” of West Palm Beach, FL. Growing up, I was constantly surrounded by crime and violence. Despite the obstacles, I went to college, got a B.A. and published two books. I'm grateful for my many opportunities. For me, the ultimate display of gratitude is to give back in any and every way I can.
I'm currently pursuing my MFA degree with a focus on Social Documentary. I could have chosen any other type of film to focus on, but I chose Social Documentary because everyone has a story. We can never know what a person is about by taking them at face value. Social Documentary takes viewers behind the scenes into “ordinary” people’s lives.
Once I learned of the Peacekeepers Global Initiative organization I knew their story had to be told. In June, I will start filming a documentary on this inspiring organization with a crew of four others. The film will introduce viewers to the life and work of Captain Dennis Mohammad, the founder of the Peacekeepers Global Initiative. It will follow his travels as he works with seven of the 21 international chapters of the Peacekeepers Global Initiative organization. The documentary will also feature the stories of volunteers and the young men who have been helped and transformed by this organization.
As director, it is my sincere desire, that at the end of this film, viewers will not only have an increased awareness of the harsh realities the average young black man faces, but will also have a newfound, tenacious hope that the cycle of violence can be broken. It’s a dream that seems impossible for many, but the truth (as will be seen in this documentary) is that local, ordinary, individuals like you and me, are daring to make a difference in their communities.
You can make the choice today to care enough to get involved and make a difference. There are many ways you can contribute to making a positive difference, including learning more about the Peacekeepers Global Initiative organization on their website.
You can also help make this film a reality by donating to The Peacekeepers Global Initiative Documentary Project on Kickstarter. Donated funds go towards the sound mixing, editing, hiring a composer, travel expenses for the crew etc. Every pledge, whether small or large, is truly appreciated.
This project will be featured in GOOD's Saturday series Push for Good—our guide to crowdfunding creative progress.
Add Crowdfunding to your To-Do list here and check out GOOD's Guide to Crowdfunding Creative Progress.