Anti-gun violence tour makes stop in Brooklyn
by Benjamin Fang
Nov 13, 2018 | 674 views | 0 0 comments | 42 42 recommendations | email to a friend | print
When the group African American Women in Cinema (AAWIC) celebrated its 20th anniversary film festival in March, the country was grappling with the aftermath of the mass shooting in Parkland, Florida.

Seventeen people were killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, the worst shooting at a high school since Columbine. Student activists took action, demanding answers from their elected officials and organizing for change.

That response inspired Terra Renee, president of AAWIC, to act as well.

“When we saw the young kids rise up to fight and deal with the matter, we decided to add our voice to help affect change,” Renee said. “We decided to go across the country to talk with the community to see what we could do collectively, and really make a difference.”

The organization, which provides a platform for women filmmakers of color to showcase their work and network with industry professionals, embarked on a multi-city tour. They started on September 22 in Jamaica, Queens.

The tour took them to Baltimore, St. Louis, Miami and Chicago. On Friday, they made their last stop of the year at Borough Hall in Downtown Brooklyn.

Along the way, Renee said the filmmakers met with mothers, youth and advocates who have been pushing for an end to gun violence. Mothers in particular spoke about their concerns letting their children even leave their home.

“What we learned was the level of trauma and pain that a lot of the community members have suffered due to senseless shootings,” she said. “It was very insightful, but also emotional.”

One of the group’s takeaways is that these mothers and young people will need a support group to deal with the trauma. Renee said many of them have been “holding it in” and haven’t felt safe to share their experiences.

That’s what AAWIC will work on next, partnering with different community organizations to look at what they learned and figuring out strategic next steps.

“That’s in the works,” Renee said. “Let’s put together an actionable plan.”
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