"The Interrupters": Lives Interrupted

"The Interrupters" is a documentary about youth and gang violence in Chicago and the grassroots organization that mediate between rival groups, doing their best to reduce violence in the affected neighborhoods. I saw it yesterday and I am watching it again today as I write.

I won't go into the details of the documentary because there's so much in it. It's got several branches or layers if you will, and getting into them would be like writing a research paper. However, the sentiments I felt yesterday are even stronger today and pushed me to write this post.

I heard one of the boys interviewed say, "Who am I? I am nobody." Nobody ~ because he doesn't know if after the interview, he'd be gunned down. Nobody ~ because for him (at least the way he sees it), there's no other way, no way out. Nobody ~ because everything around him dictates that being a "nobody" is his métier. Therefore, this brother was living a life interrupted. 

I couldn't help but think how he is Somebody in God's eyes. He just needs to realize it and accept that he is also Somebody, to himself. Except that at the stage he was in during the making of the documentary, and the unflinching manner with which he answered his own question, he'd need help realizing it.

Now I'm thinking, it's high time we had a subject or course in all school grade levels through high school called “You Are Somebody” or “You Matter”. You can ask about the kids who'd not be present in school to learn this. Remember, I said ALL grade school levels. Remember also the phrase, “Catch'em young.”

The earlier children learn that no matter what environment they find themselves in and how much everything around them tries to dictate otherwise, they can stand strong in the knowledge that they matter and claim with conviction that sentence, “I am Somebody,” the better the chances are that they would make better choices for themselves instead of getting involved in violent activities that interrupt their lives.