PBS has been on their game this month. Along with airing documentaries about black historical figures like Daisy Bates, they’ve also shown critically-acclaimed films that shine a light on areas we rarely see.

Last night, Frontline, aired the network premiere of the Steve James and Alex Kotlowitz film, The Interrupters.

If you haven’t seen The Interrupters, you are missing out.

The film follows a group of workers from CeaseFire, a Chicago-based violence prevention group that aims to stem the rising tide of homicides in the city.

The film is haunting. moving, and extremely inspiring and it was one of the best films I’ve seen in a while.

If you missed last night’s broadcast, luckily PBS is sharing the entire film on their website (and I’m embedding it here for you). It is definitely worth the watch.

Watch, “The Interrupters” and share your thoughts.

Watch The Interrupters (Graphic Language) on PBS. See more from FRONTLINE.

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  • Coco

    Saw it last night it was awesome. And to see Sista Amena change her life for the better & inturn be that positive influence for the young people. It was a great documentary but it’s sad to see our people like this (I’m including all people of color Black & Latino). There is definitely a healing & education that is needed in our communities.

  • ruggie

    Seeing this young woman trying to save her community, speaking up against violence and getting through to people is very moving.

  • leonard

    I found the piece thought provoking. However, allow to add the following:

    1. Power – The piece failed to focus on the true source of the violence, which is Colored peoples power differential with the dominant societal group. The community is in a crisis because it is a subjugated group, which breeds the ills that were exposed in the film. Arguably, a change in the power differential would solve most of, if not all, of the ills referred to in the piece.

    2. Education – The piece suggested that if these young men get an “education” everything would be alright. Unfortunately, most “educated” Colored people have been educated away from their group. Their “education” only made them better consumers and further made them ill equipped to deal with their group’s problems. However, this should not be surprising since the purpose of education is to allow a people to solve their problems. Unfortunately, Colored people have been educated to solve other group’s problems.

    3. Subsidies – A major hole in the piece was the total absence of a talk of how Colored people are subsidizing the youth of alien groups. Colored people have a lot of money to spend, but unfortunately they prefer to spend over 98% of it with non-Colored people. This subsidy allows the youth of those alien groups to stay away from crime and jail. It is sad that Colored people think that they can abandon their youth and not have those youth rebel against them and the community.

    4. Conclusion – Although the piece attempted to shed light on a meaningful topic. The total lack of a good faith effort to expose the true source of the discontent arguably reflects a lack of scholarly intention and rather a intentional attempt to get Colored people to, once again, focus on meaningless reactionary solutions.

    • Nicole

      Please stop calling the children and African Americans as a whole, ‘colored.’ You may or may not mean anything that terminolgy but it has an inherent historical context that doesn’t bode well, at least not for me.

      Second, I saw the film and completely disagree most what you said, but what was glaringly incorrect was your summation that the Interrupters suggested, “if these young men get an “education” everything would be alright.” Completely untrue. I don’t remember anyone saying or implying such. I thought it was pretty clear that their primary objective was to intervene in potentially violent situations. Their secondary goal was improve the youth’s cognitive thinking skills because as many of the Interrupters stated, many of the children only think of what the day in front of them holds, not their future which is why so many of the children act rashly. No one and I mean no one in that documentary made those children believe education would solve all of the systemic issues they face on a daily and generational basis. Case in point, Cobe intervened with “Famo” to ensure he did not engage in retaliatory violence. After that issue appeared to subside, Cobe encouraged Famo to intervene and help others avoid violence(he did) and encouraged him to get a job that would allow him to earn honest money(he did). Education was not the focal point of their interactions. The underlying point of all their interactions with the youth was that the Interrupters try to meet the children where they are and that is relative to each individual. Its unfortunate you found the piece to lack discourse on what the “true discontent” was, perhaps you missed the bigger picture and should consider re-watching the segment because what I viewed, told the story at several different levels for viewers to understand the various levels of discontent and how they evolve.

  • LuvIt289

    Thank you. Watching now :-)

  • mamareese

    More folks should be watching and commenting on this. Amazing what this sister and her organization is doing. I never knew this life but I’m going to make a point to reach out to help kids that have.