On May 9th at 6:00pm, Save Our Streets Brooklyn hosted their final Volunteer workshop, before the start of Gun Violence Awareness Month. Five community residents arrived at 162 Troy Avenue, which is known as Albany Houses Community Center. The final workshop was based on, “Identifying the High Risk” and was led by Outreach Worker / Hospital Responder Mohammed Igenio and Program Manager David Gaskin.
The workshop began with two short videos. The first video was the trailer from the documentary the “Interrupters”, where one of the cast members was filmed utilizing her gang influence to interrupt a potentially violent situation by educating community members. This video also highlighted the high risk individuals which staff members such as Mohammed Igenio have to work with on a daily basis. The second video was a Cure Violence video on, “How to Stop the Spread of Violence.” This video also discussed how to identify the high risk and how to change the thinking of the high risk.
After watching both video, the workshop transitioned into the personal stories of both Mohammed Igenio and David Gaskin. Both staff members were once labeled high risk, for how they chose to spend their younger years. After the personal stories, both staff members shared how they utilized their past history, experience and credibility to engage other high risk youth and how to redirect their attention.
Mohammed shared with those in attendance a few ways to identify High Risk. One way is the language or lingo. People who are usually at the highest risk develop their own language and terminologies. This way they can have a conversation in the open without others knowing who or what they are talking about. Clothing. Most high risk want to be identified by their clothing. Whether it is gang colors, expensive clothes and (foreigns) or the way a high risk person may wear his or her hat. Last, the group discussed recognizing the high risk in music videos, videos that are created by local community residents. The high risk like to create their own music videos to help get a message across of who they may be beefing with or to taunt someone who is considered an Opp (opposition).
At this point in the workshop, the Program Manager began to show a few music videos of the high risk, while taking time to highlight the language, clothes, colors and activities.
The workshop concluded with a slew of questions about identifying high risk gang members, high risk street activity and how to identify if a young person you may work with is high risk, but quiet about their interactions.