Youth-produced video addresses gun violence

A video produced by Asheville youth addresses the consequences of gun violence by showing the damage it does to communities and lives. The video stemmed from the City of Asheville’s Weed and Seed initiative in which residents living in communities experiencing higher levels of crime participate in solutions to reducing drugs and violence.

“The video came out of discussions among community residents,” said Rebecca Bryn, coordinator of the West Riverside Operation Weed and Seed initiative. “It is a vehicle to begin a dialog on how we can prevent gun violence.”

Produced in the spring of 2009, the video, titled “Don’t Be a Target, Take a Stand: Stop Gun Violence” is available to community groups, schools, law enforcement and Weed and Seed partner agencies for viewing. Several community groups have already received the video.

The video project was an internship opportunity for area teens. The internships were funded by a Weed and Seed grant through the U.S. Department of Justice and allowed the teens to learn important job skills while expressing ideas about their community through a positive and creative outlet. It was shot largely in and around Pisgah View Apartments, which is within the West Riverside Weed and Seed area, and was edited using tools available at the W.C. Reid Center, one of the City of Asheville’s community recreation centers. The production was supervised by personnel within the City of Asheville Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts Department.

Over six scenes, the video addresses real-life consequences of gun violence including fatalities and the family members affected, and strives to encourage youth to make better choices than guns.

“The idea was to really humanize the idea of what gun prevention really means,” Byrn said. “For the youth involved, I think it was a very powerful process.”

Any groups interested in scheduling a showing of the video “Don’t Be a Target, Take a Stand: Stop Gun Violence,” or to find out ways to participate in the City of Asheville’s West Riverside Operation Weed and Seed initiative, contact Site Coordinator Rebecca Byrn at (828) 258-2813.

The city of Asheville’s Weed and Seed program seeks to engage the community to find positive solutions to drug crime and violence utilizing partnerships and collaboration with law enforcement, community policing, prevention/intervention/treatment and neighborhood restoration. Funding is provided through annual grants by the U.S. Department of justice. The City of Asheville recently implemented its third year of the five-year Weed and Seed strategy.