E2010 Wired

The power of our words can inspire change in a single person, then two, then the world.

Pushout. The Underside of High School Dropout.

The film that has us all a buzz over the past couple of months is “Waiting for Superman.” There’s another group of film-makers producing films about the plight they face as high school students in an urban center.

Nestled the heart of distinguished institutions of higher learning that include Yale UniversityAlbertus Magnus,University of New Haven and Southern Connecticut State University are high school students with little hope of success stacked up against a mountain of failure-expectation. They began their own quest to encourage each other and tell their story,Youth Rights Media.

Youth Rights Media does not get public acclaim. There are no pre-screening galas to their movies with world-renown public figures gracing the red carpet. These students simply tell their story and encourage each other, bringing their message about the obstacles they must overcome in order to succeed and not become invisible.

On March 8, 2010, YRM released their latest film (video clip above) to a large audience at Connecticut’s Legislative Office Building that focuses on a practice termed as pushout by Connecticut’s high school students:

This morning, I was invited by attorney Josh Michtom to attend an event at the Legislative Office Building, where members of New Haven’s Youth Rights Media were presenting their latest documentary, PUSHED. The documentary focuses on the practice by CT school systems to push underachieving youth to leave public school and move on to Adult Education Program instead. As the documentary points out, this practice makes those students ‘invisible’ to the system. They are no longer enrolled in public schools, but are not considered ‘drop outs’. It’s a very disturbing way to educate youth.

One has to wonder who are these students waiting for. Fortunately for New Haven’s students, a group of Yale Law students decided to get involved:

In the late 1990s, Connecticut witnessed multiple fatal police shootings of young people of color, the grave consequences of the prevailing youth-police relationships were made painfully clear. At the same time, Connecticut was gradually becoming a national leader on an equally disturbing front: its spending on incarceration, the racial disproportionately in its juvenile and criminal justice system, and the percentage of youth incarcerated in adult facilities.

In the summer of 2000, Yale Law students teamed up to develop a youth rights education program that used video as a teaching tool, and they trained New Haven teens to facilitate workshops about young people’s rights in encounters with police. A couple years later, in 2002, Youth Rights Media was born.

Youth rights Media. Making Media, Making Change.

“PUSHED” – new documentary by Youth Rights Media

Musical Talents of 42 New Haven Students Nurtured through Free Summer Music Academy at Yale

A Hard Look At Alternative Schools

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