Thursday, June 28, 2012

Talking It Through


Last night in Harlem was the formal premiere of the Youth Justice Board's short film about police-teen relations, "Talking It Through."   The film was the culmination of more than a year's worth of work, which included focus groups, interviews with a variety of justice officials, and a survey of local young people.  The teen members of the Youth Justice Board came to the conclusion that miscommunication and misunderstanding between police officers and young people was a crucial obstacle to addressing youth crime in places like Brownsville.  In an effort to jump start a civil conversation about police-teen relations, the Board created "Talking It Through." 

What I like best about the short film is that it manages to touch on difficult issues like race and stop-and-frisk in a spirit of openness and comity rather than recrimination.  Last night's premiere at the Maysles Cinema certainly embodied this approach.  During the question-and-answer segment following the screening, there was a healthy back-and-forth between the teenagers on the Youth Justice Board, police officers, and other justice officials in attendance.   With any luck, "Talking It Through" will stimulate similar conversations in other settings for many months to come.