Guest Post by YO S.O.S. Intern, Manysa-Ashira Remy-Walcott

the_interrupters_smallerRecently, I found myself watching the film “The Interrupters” and wow, was it a life changing documentary! It’s a film directed by Steve James and Alex Kotlowitz, who are able to create an intimate journey into the stubborn persistence of violence in our cities. Over the course of the 2 hour documentary, you will get the feeling that “The Interrupters” is a voice for high crime neighborhoods and the people who want to change their ways but don’t know how to. Quite often I found myself tearing up while viewing the movie because it is so real. You see that challenging things really do happen to people every day and there are kind hearted people who were once victims and perpetrators of violence themselves who can make a difference and are choosing to give back.

ameenaOne of my favorite characters was Ameena Matthews. In The Interrupters, Ameena, whose father is Jeff Fort, one of Chicago’s most famous gang leaders, was herself a drug guerilla. Name it all, she did it. Luckily by the grace of “Allah” as she states, and her kids, she was able to stay grounded. She has the code of the streets handbook down pat and trust with her comes easy because she is an ex-con and can easily relate to the kids in the streets today since she herself has “been there, done that and wrote a book about it” as I would say. Ameena’s approach to the youth that she oversees and has “taken under her wing” is very uncommon being that she shows them a new way of the streets and lets them make their own choices. I firmly recommend this movie and hope more people will begin building relationships with the youth the way Ameena has.