The goal of the National Youth Art Movement (NYAM) is to provide youth all across America in neighborhoods besieged by gun violence with an opportunity to make their mark on the issue by using their city as a blank canvas to communicate to the entire community the impact on their lives.
There are mothers who are in constant fear of stray bullets, not just on the streets where they live, but on the playgrounds. Haunted by the scary reality that they sometimes even come through the walls, nightmares of monsters have been replaced with fears of stray bullets that sizzle through skin, day or night.
When you see the news or hear the stories of the homicides, have you ever thought of who is affected when someone dies? For sure -- Moms and Dads, sisters and brothers, and friends and neighbors. A family. A whole community.
For those whose only connection to the violence is the news or constant stories of shootings in our city, researchers have found that even just being a voyeur has its consequences. Consumers of the news also internalize these tragic events, which can become expressed in negative moods, multiplied and/or irrational fears, and compassion fatigue — a numbing of emotion to the pain of others. This is evidence that violence in Chicago impacts each and every one of us in a multitude of unrealized ways.
The Girls Like Me project pictured below provides African American girls in Chicago, ages 11 - 16, programming that helps them to overcome stigmas and negative stereotypes to become influential, independent digital storytellers.