For our most recent project we held two simultaneous workshops in Manhattan and Brooklyn to cover community-focused stories in Crown Heights and the Lower East Side. Rookies at Vanguard High School and the High School for Global Citizenship reported on everything from policing tactics in public housing, the cell phone ban in schools, to the experience of trying to understand cultural differences in Crown Heights.
See clips of their work in this trailer from the Neighborhood to Neighborhood project:
Radio Rookies held the workshops in partnership with Facing History and Ourselves, an organization that teaches students and teachers to learn to combat prejudice with compassion, indifference with participation, and myth and misinformation with knowledge.
More than 400,000 people live in public housing in New York City, and thousands more are on wait-lists for available apartments. When Radio Rookie Winnie Guo’s family first moved into public housing, it felt like a big step up. Then 14-year-old Winnie started wondering about how public housing can affect the aspirations and focus of kids who grow up there.
Four Radio Rookies, who are all very recent immigrants from the Caribbean, now attend high school in the heart of what was the epicenter of the Crown Heights riots 20 years ago. But, as newcomers, the Rookies know nothing about the neighborhood’s fraught history.
I was shocked to hear about what happened to Trayvon Martin, but I wasn’t surprised that he was targeted because he was a black kid in a hooded sweatshirt.
Growing up, my parents used to tell me to stay away from the projects. They said they were dangerous, and they’re right: about 20 percent of violent crime happens in public housing.
Radio Rookies is a New York Public Radio initiative that provides teenagers with the tools and training to create radio stories about themselves, their communities and their world.
New York City Council members are calling for an end to the ban on cell phones in schools. There's been no response yet from Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott, who has the power to change the policy, but both he and Mayor Bloomberg have defended it in the past. A group of Radio Rookies reported on the issue earlier this year. Check out their video here:
Rookie Reporters Yun Mei and Ricardo Castro profile Aida Salgado, a mother who’s been working for years to make the neighborhood she grew up in safer for young people coming up now.