Questioning Assumptions and Exploring Realities
Edited By Heather M. Pleasants and Dana E. Salter
Chapter 10: Visions Beyond the Bricks: Reflections on Engaging Communities to Support Black Male Youth
← 202 | 203 → Chapter 10
Visions Beyond the Bricks: Reflections on Engaging Communities to Support Black Male Youth
Ouida Washington and Derek Koen
“Do you think you’re a smart kid? Yes, I’m a smart kid...”
We sat in the mid-town New York office of a potential funder, anxious to show the fine cut of the film we’d been working on for almost a year. We didn ’t have much experience with philanthropy, where social-issue work like the film we’d produced found a lifeline, nor did they as funders know what to expect from a film project. Much of our work thus far had focused on helping non-profits use media to tell their own stories, so now for us to come with a project we had developed on our own was new, bold, and nerve racking for us.
As we dimmed the lights in the conference room, we began sharing the film and the voice of a young Black male begin to echo in the room: “Do you think you’re a smart kid?” the interviewer asked. “Yes, I’m a smart kid...I am a smart kid!” Fifteen-year-old Shaquiel answered as he walked down the hallway of his new school. As the 30-minute film played from the laptop on the table, we looked up to see the program manager becoming very emotional. I think that was the moment they knew and we knew that this film would connect directly with communities who needed to...
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