COMMUNITY PARTNER: Philadelphia has the largest amount of juveniles serving life without parole in the United States. Ubuntu Philadelphia is an organization created to help bring awareness to the issue of juvenile lifers in the city of Philadelphia. The organization helps bring about conversations and creates open space for both victims of crime and juvenile lifers and their families to form a better community. By using healing circles, the Ubuntu event hopes to bring an open dialogue between all those affected by violence in Philadelphia.
CHALLENGE: The challenge for Ubuntu Philly was to create videos that made all feel welcomed to the event and to further promote the event as a whole. The issue of Juvenile lifers and their resentencing is a touchy issue for many members of the community and our goal was to show that the event strives to make everyone’s voice be heard. To do this we conducted two interviews and from these interviews created 6 videos for Ubuntu. One from a recently released juvenile lifer and one from a woman who has had people affected on both ends of the judicial system.
STRATEGIC THINKING: When creating our content for Ubuntu* Philadelphia, we looked to several non profit organizations who exemplify a similar mission to that of Ubuntu, namely, The Youth Sentencing & Reentry Project (YSRP) and The Redemption Project. As Ubuntu* Philadelphia does not have social media, we focused on the content creation of YSRP and The Redemption Project in order to guide us through our video design. Primarily, we hoped to model the personal stories that YSRP features in their various videos, as well as the authentic voice that the Redemption Project captures. Through our interviews with Julie and Abdul, we hoped to learn more about them, as the examples linked above accomplish with their various individuals, as well as connect their story to the power of Ubuntu and healing. We were also guided through the interview process through the readings from Terkel and Portelli on effective storytelling and oral history. The discussion and brainstorming process of these two readings during class provided us with the background knowledge to enter our interviews with increased confidence (see photo of class notes). Specifically, we hoped to model their example of a conversation-like interview, as well as the development of broad themes to touch on during the interview.
RESULT: We talked with Mike Lyons from Ubuntu and decided we were going to make one video for our interview with Julie Burnett, and one video from our interview with Abdul Lateef. After going through footage and trying to make the most of the information packed interviews, it was decided that Abdul’s interview would be split into a series of five videos, all focusing on a different issue/topic he discussed. We wanted our videos to show our interview subjects strong believe in Ubuntu and its community aspect as well as touch on ideas of restorative justice, forgiveness, and the power of healing circles and just talking to people one on one. Our videos are meant to promote Ubuntu's next event in the Spring of 2018 by creating an open and understanding invitation for viewers.