Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Exploring Youth Violence and Mental Health Correspondent: MG Media

Educator Mr Robinson and DeShawn
 has confrontation (Photo: Victor Powell)
An exclusive group of community leaders, educators and media showed up last week to see the premiere of the much talked about theater production, It Shoudda Been Me, an insightful, compelling stage play taking a look at the impact of youth violence on the psyche of its survivors.

“It Shoudda Been Me” was written by Doriane C. Miller, MD, associate professor of medicine and director for the Center for Community Health and Vitality at the University of Chicago Medicine. Miller was inspired to create this story after being struck by the nonchalance of her young patients impacted by violence.

"The play came out of observation with clients at Friend Family Health Center. I had seen a number of clients from 18-25, who had experienced shootings and stabbings. Some of these young people seem to have the same symptoms as victims of war. Many of these young people had started engaging in risky behavior. They lacked focus and seemed to think violence was normal. Some even openly stated that they didn't expect to live very long," candidly expressed Dr. Miller.

Family converges to support DeShawn's
mental troubles (Photo: Victor Powell)
After the play, there was a Q&A discussion with thought leaders and community activists including Tio Hardiman, Vaun Monroe, Ernest Sanders, Phillip Thomas; and facilitator Dr. Eric E. Whitaker. The casts also joined in the discussion: Kona Burks, Ingrid Gaitor, Darren Jones, Osiris Khepera and Matthew Lloyd. There was a warm welcome by executive vice president for medical affairs at The University of Chicago Medicine, Dr. Kenneth S. Polonksy.

The panelists and cast members had a very heartfelt chat fest and the packed theater delivered meaningful and truthful questions showing their concerns about this epidemic sweeping communities. The diverse audience understood that teen and youth violence happens everywhere and is not secluded to any particular neighborhood.

"It Shoudda Been Me" is an initiative by the University of Chicago Medicine. The play is in full mode at eta Creative Arts Foundation, 7558 S. Chicago Ave. (Chicago). Everyone who has a child should take their offspring’s and mentees, or if you're an educator with school aged kids, you should be planning a field trip to see this play immediately.

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