These are the words of Jessica Estelle Huggins, independent filmmaker in Chicago:
“Ultimately, my intention is to provide a platform for youth to creatively express themselves in regards to the youth violence in Chicago. If I was ever to have a child(ren), I would want them to look like me: brown skin, kinky hair. And to constantly watch images of brown and black skin youth in stories of violence in the news has always been heartbreaking for me. For almost a year, I have been able to build a very strong team that believes in similar ideas of progression in the African-American community as I do. Personally, I believe that everything starts with the children. We need to go back to the basics: Love, support and patience. Change starts within ourselves. As a filmmaker, my way of expression is through visuals. I want Chi~Voices to serve not only as art therapy for those affected by violence, but to also serve at an action component, a way for people to want to actively become involved in changing our communities for the better.”
Some of you may remember last summer, when Huggins gathered a couple of Chicago’s incredibly talented spoken word artists and created Chi~Voices: A Poetic Film Series. The film series is focused on spoken word artists creatively exploring youth violence occurring in Chicago. Since then, Chi~Voices sponsor, The BRIJ Fund, L3C created the collaboration of Chi~Voices with the Institute For Positive Living (IPL) in Bronzeville to host a six-week comprehensive workshop for the youth at IPL. During these workshops, a few of the Chi~Voices poets came in and helped increase the literacy skill sets of these youth. You can check out their beautiful work here: http://chivoices.wordpress.com/2014/01/12/chivoices-workshop-5-1102014/
Currently, the team is weaving the youth at IPL’s pieces into the current story with the original poets. Now, Chi~Voices is launching their Kickstarter campaign to raise the last $2,000 for production costs. Once the team raises the funds, they will begin to prep to begin production in April. The film premiere is slated to happen during Fall 2014.
The purpose of this blog has always been to talk about issues I feel strongly about. This is one of those issues. It’s only February, and already there have been 31 murders in Chicago in 2014. If we want to change the lives of youth in this city, then we have to start with initiatives like this. Share this campaign. Donate if you can.