Teens Fight Violence with Video - WICU12 HD WSEE Erie, PA News, Sports, Weather and Events

Teens Fight Violence with Video

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A dice game might seem like a petty reason to shoot someone, but it's scenarios like this that Erie teens say are too familiar.

It's the premise for a short film that a group of local teens made, to warn their peers of the consequences of violent actions.

"It could just be over nothing, they could just be having a bad day hanging around with the wrong crowd and just get influenced to do something you usually wouldn't do," Davis said of the gun violence he sees in our city.

He and D.T. Tirado grew up in Erie, and they're fighting the violence they see taking over the city, with a different weapon: a video camera.

Their short film, called "30 to Life", depicts a young man who finds himself facing that ominous sentence.

The creators said they drew from experience when writing the plot.

"Erie is small so 9 times out of 10 you might know the person that's involved either shooting or getting shot," said D.T., who lost a cousin to gun violence last year.

The teens recruited District Attorney Jack Daneri to act in the film. He was eager to support the film's message.

"It was very much a part of what we're trying to do," said Daneri. "It's refreshing to know there's a large segment of kids who are interested in having a good future for themselves."

The teens had a great experience filming the movie in Judge Gerhardt's courtroom at the Erie County Courthouse, and they're confident they won't be back under different circumstances, because of the positive influence of the Teen Center at the Downtown YMCA.

"We all started going here, we started seeing positive results, our grades started getting better," said Davis. "We're staying out of trouble... we're like a family now."

The film was the product of the equipment and mentorship of the Downtown YMCA's media center.

The media program's director, Marcus Atkinson, said he's extremely proud of the teens, and he believes their film will have an impact.

"This is real life here, so in that respect to see their own peers put this type of story out, I've seen the looks on their faces they're kind of like, 'wow this is real'," said Atkinson.

Now, he hopes to get the final product into Erie schools. Daneri is pushing for it, too.

"I would encourage all the schools throughout the county to show the film... regardless, that movie is gonna reach someone," Daneri said.

To watch the full movie, click here.

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