Navy Yard

DA Gonzalez partners with youth in anti-bullying storytelling project

February 8, 2018 By Paul Frangipane Brooklyn Daily Eagle

A culmination of District Attorney Eric Gonzalez’s work with youth communities to prevent bullying came together at the Brooklyn Navy Yard Wednesday night as kids presented anti-bullying short films they made.

The district attorney’s bureau of youth initiatives teamed up with Hispanic Information and Telecommunications Network (HITN) and DIYdoc a little more than a year ago to create the “For Youth by Youth Digital Storytelling Project.” The project brought students together from Brooklyn International High School, Brooklyn YouthLink, Breukelen Cornerstone and Wynn Center to view the world of bullying as seen from the eyes of its targets.

“Doing this work today is where my heart’s at, which is working with young people, making sure that young people have an opportunity to grow into tomorrow’s leaders,” Gonzalez told dozens of children in HITN’s black box studio. “The most powerful voices are your voices.”

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Before the films were presented, Gonzalez explained that it was his business to fight bullying as a preventative measure against violence and for the wellbeing of youth. His office intends to continue reaching out to adolescents and help use the sometimes volatile social media platform as a positive tool for cyberbullying prevention.

With the help of DIYdoc’s app, students were able to film their two and a half to three minute films using preset templates that helped edit and produce a final piece from their footage.

“This initiative is really geared towards giving voice to the concerns that young people have,” said Dr. Ed Greene of the Youth and Media Initiatives at HITN.

Audience members were given the opportunity to hear from the filmmakers or “ambassadors” as Greene put it, after each film was shown.

“The message that we wanted to convey was that one voice, only one voice can make a difference, so don’t be shy to speak up,” said one student of her film.

Mini clips and photographs from the projects will soon be shared with a broader audience using #BKAmplify.

While this was the pilot program, the partnership will evaluate the project and hopes to expand to 10 groups in fall 2018.

In August 2017, the district attorney also partnered with Councilmember Robert Cornegy and members of the Anti-Bullying Partnership to Prevent Violence and Suicide to raise awareness of cyberbullying.

The office has been and will continue to take a multi-pronged approach to combat bullying with the help of Brooklyn communities, Gonzalez said.

“This DA’s Office has to be available to you,” Gonzalez told the students. “Together, we’re going to stamp out bullying.”

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