Chicago Youth Articulate Their Own Truths Through Filmmaking

November 18, 2015

Community TV Network (CTVN) is a nonprofit empowering Chicago youth with training in video and multimedia production. Through CTVN’s programs, young people become inspired to speak from their own unique points of view and promote dialogue on community solutions.

The nearly 500 videos in CTVN’s media library form a vibrant digital catalogue composed of authentic youth voices. One of these videos, “Making Peace in the Streets,” is the story of three teenage documentary crews searching for solutions to end the violence in their Chicago neighborhoods. Viewers follow the filmmakers as they learn and discuss the causes of the violence while documenting possible solutions.

Denise Zaccardi, CTVN’s executive director and founder, said documenting community activism and helping young people create videos about youth-violent neighborhoods has an empowering effect. She introduced us to Briona, 17, who commented on the experience of creating videos through CTVN.

I kind of enjoy it, trying to get the word out to all the gang members, like “Stop the Violence!” You all are killing kids, you all are killing innocent people. I mean, you ain’t doing nothing but throwing your life away. Everybody got something to live for on this earth. If you a gang member and you got kids, live for your kids. If you dead or in jail, these gang bangers, these gangs, these streets not gonna raise your kids, they’re gonna steer your child the wrong way.

With the help of Voqal Fund, Community TV Network is empowering Chicago’s underserved youth to articulate their own truths and engage their communities in solving issues that most impact them, while overcoming the poverty, inequality and injustice they often face.