Live Young Blood: Beginning the conversations that inspire change

On Tuesday I had the privilege of attending a screening of a documentary film called Live Young Blood. It was by far one of the best documentaries I have ever seen. Filmmakers Bobby Marvin Holmes and Justin Gladden created a phenomenal thought-provoking masterpiece.

Bobby spoke with me about why he and Justin made the film.

“Back in 2010 I was covering a lot of issues focused on youth. One issue in particular was the youth jail controversy, so Justin and I decided to explore issues that impact the youth more: violence, juvenile justice system, and education are the subject matters we decided to cover. Over the past decade I have worked with youth on different capacities including teaching, counseling, and mentoring. Naturally, it was meant for me to do this project.”

Live Young Blood takes the viewer through the streets of Baltimore with a focus on youth violence and how it impacts everyone around; not just the mother or relative of the youth involved, but everyone in the community. It takes a lot for me to get emotional while watching anything. This film evoked emotions from all watching it.

A mother told her very difficult story about how her son had been shot, with all the details surrounding it. You could feel her pain. It was real. It was true. It was live. It was hard to watch without becoming teary eyed.

On the first day of school, Baltimore had its own shooting where a student shot a disabled youth.
On the first day of school, Baltimore had its own shooting where a student shot a disabled youth.

The fact is stories like the one this grieving mother told are not the exception but rather the norm here in Baltimore and cities across the country.  There were 217 homicides in 2012 here in good old Charm City. The questions become: why? What are we going to do about it? Is anyone doing anything about it now?  “Why” seems to range from: lack of a father or father figure, addicted parents to peer pressure, idolizing drug dealers, images and stereotypes perpetuated by the mainstream media, video gaming and the music industry.

Is anyone doing anything about it now? Yes, there are several organizations here in Baltimore with programs for youth and to help make the streets safer. I had the opportunity to find out about some programs in the film and meet some of the people involved last night. One program is Safe Streets Baltimore. Here’s a video that tells more about what they do: Safe Streets:

What are we as people impacted by youth violence going to do about it?  Holmes and Gladden have definitely begun the conversation with this film. The conversation does not and should not end there. I encourage everyone affected by this to get involved, especially the youth. Support the groups in Baltimore doing the work. Start a new group to help youth. Talk about it. Be about it.  See this film if you get the chance. Last but not least, listen to the youth, treat them with respect and help them succeed.

Here is a link to the film’s trailer: Live Young Blood.