“brick city”: a documentary

listening to npr with a slightly foggy brain yesterday on my way home, i tuned into a story about a 5-part documentary series called “brick city” debuting on the sundance channel this week. backed by executive producer Forest Whitaker, the series chronicles efforts by Mayor Corey Booker and various other politicians, educators, and citizens in the battle against drugs, crime and violence in their hometown of Newark, New Jersey. but beyond that, the film seems to explore how people stay connected to a sense of humanity, compassion, and hope in an a world more interested in doling out lessons on poverty, depravity, and pain.

image of Newark courtesy of sundancechannel.com

image of Newark, NJ courtesy of sundancechannel.com

this clip of Principal Ras Baraka speaking at Central High School after a student was shot outside the school was particularly compelling:

“You’re living this life like it is normal. It is abnormal…to talk about your friends dying, to not be able to walk home safely from school, to get jumped every other day, to fail everything, to live in squalor, to have people’s parents coming outside fighting with them in the middle of the street. This is not normal, to be going to the hospital every week, to be wearing t-shirts that say “R.I.P.,” to be writing “R.I.P.” on the wall. This is not normal. This is abnormal. Nobody else’s children do this!”

i really hope this series gets some viewership. but for those, like me, who won’t be anywhere near a t.v. this week, you can hear more clips and get the rest of the story online at npr.org.

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