The City of Oakland and its youth often get a bad rap in the media, and while Oakland does have a high crime and violence rate, there is so much more to this story. MAKE MOVES illustrates the creative and vibrant side of Oakland through the stories of three young African American men. Orlando, CT and Bizzy all grew up surrounded by violence, crime, and poverty yet are engaging in activities that will help them break out of this cycle.
These three young men are a part of a community organization called Youth Uprising that supports, engages, educates and inspires youth to express themselves creatively. MAKE MOVES is about the stories have not been told, about showing the beauty of this city and celebrating youth, who, through music, word, and dance are empowering themselves and their community.
Use this guide to explore how Oakland youth are transforming hard life experiences into vibrant art to live their dreams and lift up their generation.
- Setting goals and achieving them.
- Overcoming life's hardships through artistic expression.
- Understanding community and transforming the perception of a "bad" neighborhood.
Typically, the media shows negative images of Oakland and its youth. Consider how much influence the media has in your perception of Oakland. (If not Oakland, a city you know that gets a bad rap.)
- What is your impression of Oakland?
- What is you impression of Oakland's Youth?
Has your perception of either changed after watching MAKE MOVES?
In the final words of the documentary, Bizzy, states "I wouldn't trade this place for nothin'. No matter how many times you hear on the news that it's horrible... I live here...I walk these streets so I know what its like. And I know we can change... you have to come here and basically plant that seed to understand."
- What do you think Bizzy means when he says "...plant that seed to understand"?
- What are some of the things you can do to plant a seed in your community?
The film MAKE MOVES mentions a community organization that is called Youth Uprising that engages, educates, and inspires youth to express themselves creatively
- Do you know of any other organizations that support local youth?
- What services are offered at these organizations?
- How do these organizations influence your community?
- If you could start your own organization what services would you provide?
Although Orlando has been through tough times he uses dance as an outlet to help him stay positive and express himself creatively.
- Have you been through a tough time but found a positive outlet to express yourself?
- If yes. What are those positive outlets? If no, what are some potential outlets?
- The demographics of East Oakland are as follows: 50% African American, 38% Latinos, 6% Asian and Pacific Islanders, and 4% Whites.
- The demographics of the city of Oakland are as follows: 36% African American, 22% Latinos, 15% Asian and Pacific Islanders, and 31% Whites.
- East Oakland is currently one of the Bay Area's most structurally disadvantaged areas. Nearly 40% of children are on public assistance, versus 9% for Alameda County overall. 50% of households live below the poverty level, versus 11% countywide. 40% of East Oakland adults have no high school diploma.
(Alameda County Health Services Agency, 2000).
- Youth Uprising envisions a healthy and economically robust community pwered by the leadership of youth and young adults. YU is a dedicated leader in the advancement of youth leadership development as a means of transforming community.
ANTHONY WEAVER: "Imagine wanting to speak, sing or scream but you had no voice to do so. Or when you did no one was around or cared to listen. Or just maybe you were not loud enough. Everyone has a story and the youth of Oakland are screaming for someone to listen. I want our film to be a speaker for their voice, their story so that the people can listen". Anthony Weaver regards expression to be one of the most powerful and inspirational abilities that one can have. As an aspiring film maker Anthony, is influenced and inpired by his personal experiences, memories, thoughts, and interactions with the world and the people in it. This includes friends, family, random strangers, first loves, heartbreak, a day in the life, struggles and dreams and he is inspired to express the ones that has inspired him as best as he can through the lens of a camera and hopefully inspire others.
SHANNON LATHAM has been making films since she was in high school. She moved to California from North Carolina to be in the business of show. She enjoys working with a Super 8 camera, and with stop-motion animation. She has graduated from San Francisco State University.
SULAIMAN (MOE) ARSALAI didn't listen to his parents and followed his passion instead. After spending two years studying art and graphic design he became fascinated by the newly evolving world of cinema and is now an aspiring film-maker. Moe wants to explore every corner of the world and change your life.
*The information on these pages is provided by the student film makers and does not represent an endorsement or verification of statements from the Health Equity Institute