Nuf Said: Will Violence Finally Stop?


Editor’s Note: The following story was written by a student in the Urban Youth International Journalism Program in partnership with Imagine Englewood If, a youth services organization based in that South Side neighborhood:

The young journalists at an event for the youth media project Nuf Said on Oct. 27 talked about violence and how they could get shot any day. In a video screened at the event in Pilsen, a girl named Cookie told her story: how people get killed in our communities, and how they can’t build new houses without the windows getting blown out or busted. In the video, “Cookie’s Story,” produced by Community TV Network, she tells us how she saw someone die when she was only seven years old. At the end of the video, her friend started rapping about violence to teach people about violence and that they should stop the killing.

Youth from Community TV Network led the discussion after the video, and asked the participants if they have had similar experiences to Cookie’s story. Everyone agreed that they had, describing different problems in the communities, including violence, disrespect from police and politicians, poor schools and even litter.

One youth said, “Most kids feel like school is just a place to hang out.”

The Nuf Said project was launched in January 2010, and different youth media organizations did surveys in the spring asking youth what issues are most important to them. They made videos about their research, and judges decided which videos were the best. The data showed that there is violence all around, that’s why we say we don’t feel safe in our communities. The results of these studies and conversations will be in newspapers and on websites to raise public awareness. The purpose is to let people know what is going on, to talk about the definition of violence, and to make our communities a safe place for kids to play and live.
At the Oct. 27 event, Trevor Hill, a member of the launch event planning committee, described talking to politicians about the community problems identified in the Nuf Said surveys.

“When you ask them questions, they give you a totally different answer as if they didn’t even hear your question,” Hill said.

Community leaders and youths at the event were trying to figure out why kids want to kill each other and vandalize other people’s space. They are trying to stop all the bad things that go on in the black community. They are trying to figure out how things should be done differently.

After the media presentations at the Nuf Said event, food was served and we talked some more – including about the dropout crisis. If kids don’t know how to read or write, they are throwing their whole life away. Adults are trying to stop kids from fighting, but the adults are fighting too. Community leaders are trying to stop robbery and trying to make sure kids get an education. They are trying to clean up the environment and they are trying to get us together so we can help each other, so we can get stronger as a community.

We also talked about how police are not responding fast enough when people call them in an emergency. One group described how they have meetings with the police every Tuesday and the police give them tours of the station. That’s to try to build trust since many boys say they can’t believe what the police say and they think the police are against them. “Just wait until you’re older said Hill, 19. “The police harass you, I’ve been harassed by the police so many times.” He said the police have beaten him for no reason and stolen things from him.

After eating pizza and drinking soda at the event, we sat in different groups and talked about what we had learned with youth from different organizations, including Columbia Links, True Star, Free Spirit Media and Community TV Network. The groups use Facebook, Twitter and MySpace pages to spread the word about Nuf Said and their other projects.

Some groups talked about unemployment and youth jobs. Others did comedy, rapped or played instruments. The whole point of these groups and the Nuf Said project is to keep youth out of trouble and give them a fresh outlook.

The goal of all of this is to come together to make our communities stronger and to stop violence. Violence should stop so kids can grow old.

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