Leadership In Practice: Rebuilding A Nation After Trauma

Being a leader takes courage, patience, resilience and vision. Deogratias (Deo) Niyizonkiza, Founder and CEO, Village Health Works, has those leadership attributes and many more.

Deo was born into a loving yet poor family in Burundi. At the outbreak of the 1994 Hutu/Tutsi genocide in Rwanda/Burundi, Deo was attending medical school in Bujumbura, Burundi. One day a group of Hutus came to his dorm looking to kill any and all Tutsis. Deo hid under his bed.  After the perpetrators left, he fled to the woods of Burundi and Rwanda where he hid, while witnessing senseless slaughter, for six months. Continue reading “Leadership In Practice: Rebuilding A Nation After Trauma”

What Do Kids Learn By Making Videos?

Our students at Brownsville Collaborative Middle School address their peers on what they learned about making videos at The Campus, an after-school program that teaches tech and media skills to kids in the Howard Houses in Brownsville, Brooklyn.  It is the first computer lab developed in public housing in the US.

Founded by Senator Jesse Hamilton (D),

Emoni Talks To Her Peers at P.S. 156

to address this systemic problem of inequality, Senator Hamilton assembled teachers and community leaders to bring tech resources to Brownsville.

We spent an academic year teaching kids about storytelling through photography and video.  Their stories and observations can be seen on their blog: Brownsville Visible

In addition to the blog,  check out the video below to learn what Emoni, Tyrese, Isiah and Kymani learned in making their stories.

To see the student videos, click on the links for the Brownsville Barber Guru and the interview with Local Hero, Brownsville Collaborative Middle School  Principal, Gregory Jackson.

Wounded Warriors Soar at STRIDE Adaptive Sports Snow Fest

They came from all over the east coast to meet their friends and cheer each other on as they overcame physical and mental hurdles, not to mention braving the sub-zero temperatures and ski the slopes of Jiminy Peak.  We don’t know who was more inspiring, the Wounded Warriors or the STRIDE Adaptive Sports team, but watch the video and be awed.

Continue reading “Wounded Warriors Soar at STRIDE Adaptive Sports Snow Fest”

Despite Death Threats A Gay Leader Emerges In Afghanistan

After the shootings at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, by Omar Mateen, a U.S. resident of Afghan descent, we can’t help but revisit a past interview with Afghani gay activist, Nemat Sadat.  His intelligence and honesty on what it means to be gay in Afghanistan is extremely insightful.

All eyes are on the upcoming run off of the Afghanistan presidential election between Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani in mid June. But millions of Afghans are talking about a new emerging leader not on the ballot, Nemat Sadat, who happens to be gay.   Continue reading “Despite Death Threats A Gay Leader Emerges In Afghanistan”

Brownsville Media Lab Screens Films On Identity, Poverty and Police.

The Brownsville Community Justice Center and Reel Works screened films from the recent piloted Brownsville Media Lab program.

The screenings took place at the
New York Institute of Technology Auditorium
1871 Broadway @ 63rd St.

The filmmakers tackled tough issues they are grappling in their young lives like identity, beauty, race, police, violence, poverty and grief.  They felt a great sense of accomplishment and a stronger connection to the community by sharing very personal things they thought only they grapple with.

When asked what was the key thing he learned from the filmmaking process, Ray Graham said, “Patience.  I wanted to quit the lab two times because I didn’t think the film was coming together.”

Judging from the audience’s supportive response, Graham’s patience and the gamble to open up paid off, they learned they are not alone with their feelings and perceptions about living in Brownsville Brooklyn in these volatile times.

The Brownsville Media Lab runs simultaneous with other tracks that include the Young Adult Entrepreneurship track, Community Benefits Projects track and the Mark Morris Dance Group track. All tracks are to develop our youth and provide new career opportunities that at one time seemed unimaginable.

Missed the screening? Check out the videos below.

Continue reading “Brownsville Media Lab Screens Films On Identity, Poverty and Police.”