Effective tools for conferences, the films reframe discussion to a public health focus – to broaden discussion, clarify commonality and take participants deeply into relationship & civil dialog on prevention
When we began this project in 2000 – there were not many tools available on gun violence that could actually make a credible contribution to scientific and social research looking at violence, it’s causes, prevention and community response. To fully utilize all the research and resources that goes into producing quality films, we intentionally decided to create films that would fill this gap. Conference planning is a skill that continues to develop from working with the films as tools to encourage expanded critical thinking on a very complex topic. Interestingly, as a “Project” – not an established advocacy organization – we find our skill set in convening a wide range of groups, organizations and individuals interested in making a larger impact, but not sure how to effectively collaborate in this effort.
Quite surprisingly to us, people doing fantastic work in their communities often are challenged in terms of bringing diverse stakeholders, doing equivalent work, into relationship around common dilemmas. Is is rewarding to the entire community when this happens – and we continue to be assured – the films make it so much easier to take on what might seem an extraordinary event. Responses to using the films in this way continue to be incredibly positive and inspiring.
Youth Violence Prevention Initiative of the Medical College of WI hosts Bridging the Divide: Evidence Based Programming and Pragmatic Solutions to Violence Prevention for a multitude of community partners from throughout urban Milwaukee. Clips and Segments from the series tie topics, speakers, performers and panels together and take participants deeply into authentic experiences.
Children’s Safety Network of the Marshfield Clinic – A 2 day statewide conference organized by New Moon Productions and statewide partners, including the WI Attorney General’s Office, gathered at this internationally known clinic, located in central rural Wisconsin. The goal of Communities Coming Together: to re-frame discussions of community gun violence from “Gun Rights vs Gun Control” to a far less polarized focus of Public Health prevention . Participants, including medical professionals, activists, members of the faith community and law enforcement, returned to their home communities with the tools and fresh perspectives, to do just that. (This meaningful event serves as a model for partnerships, including the Presbyterian church that appears in the final film of the series: the Pastor invited us back to Marshfield to try again to broaden discussion, following a horrific domestic violence murder/suicide.)
Visions for Community Justice: A Forum for Thought & Action – this committed group included a segment of Changing the Conversation in their initial interactive forum of presentations on innovative views of the world of Community Justice from local and national speakers and researchers. The film segment they chose to screen to the crowd of 100 plus connected the complex issues being addressed and added more voices of central city youth to the discussion.
Medical College of WI Student Groups Physicians for Social Responsibility and the Emergency Medicine Interest Group – host Partners in Prevention to initiate the Gun Violence Awareness Fund of the Greater Milwaukee Foundation. An energetic, multi-disciplinary group representing health care, education, law enforcement and the arts gathered to screen clips and discuss ways to generate positive change in our communities. Partners from this endeavor expressed interest in traveling with us to diverse areas of Wisconsin, to expand the frame on gun violence from a purely 2nd Amendment issue to one of Public Health, affecting all communities in the state.