Discussion Guide | Firsthand: Gun Violence

Discussion Guide

Firsthand storytellers

Download a PDF of the Discussion Guide

Purpose of this Discussion Guide

This discussion guide is meant to support community members and organizations, educators, faith community leaders, and policymakers in facilitating important conversations on issues raised by viewing the film. Your screening can spark dialogue that can be used for everything from creating healing conversations to strategic community action plans. There are many ways to use the film:

  • Engage in conversation concerning gun violence and the many individuals impacted
  • Highlight ways that individuals and communities cope with and address gun violence
  • Explore the intersection of gun violence victims, survivors, and perpetrators
  • Brainstorm points of prevention and intervention at the individual, community, and policy level for those most impacted by gun violence
  • Encourage community members from all walks of life to reflect on personal views, decisions, and actions concerning gun violence across the spectrum

We encourage you to use this guide as a tool to organize screening events utilizing the stories in the film. Each of the five individuals’ stories are separated into three parts for focused discussions. Each story includes overarching themes related to gun violence; however, many of the themes overlap. This guide includes the backgrounds of the subjects, discussion questions, background reading and links, and resources that can help you build successful events that can engage viewers in moving from silence to action to address one of our country’s most pressing issues.

About the Film

This multiplatform WTTW initiative puts a human face on hot-button issues that are important across the country, but especially in Chicago. Where conversations often dissolve into stereotypes or generalizations, WTTW is uniquely positioned to tell these important stories from personal, firsthand perspectives. As part of this new initiative, we will select one issue to explore through a rich, multimedia approach, including 15 serialized videos documenting the stories of five people whose lives have been touched by the issue; feature and analysis stories about the people highlighted and the themes raised in the video series; TEDx-style talks by experts on the topic; and screenings and discussions with experts and policymakers who will extend the reach of the project into Chicago neighborhoods.

The number of Chicagoans lost to gun violence has declined over the past two years1, but this persistent problem remains a fact of life for the residents of many Chicago neighborhoods. While Chicago’s gun violence gets plenty of attention from local and national media, the coverage centers on shootings as a criminal matter. If the resulting injuries get any recognition, the focus is on the physical wounds, and the wounded are depicted as victims with little agency.

Instead, Firsthand will explore the psychological wounds resulting from gun violence, wounds which not only affect the injured person, but also ripple through entire communities. We will learn about the healing process and see how the efforts of injured individuals and their communities impact that process. And we will discover how we play a small part in healing entire communities by healing a single person.

Quick Facts

  • Despite the attention they garner, mass shootings account for only one percent of gun deaths.
  • Black men are disproportionately affected by gun violence.
  • Domestic shootings disproportionately kill or injure black women.
  • Most mass shooting victims are black.
  • Nearly 20 American children are shot every day.
  • In 2018, 36,000 people died in the U.S. due to gun-related violence.
  • The community pays a significant price for each homicide.2
  • States with stricter gun-control laws experience fewer deaths related to gun violence.
  • 67 percent of gun owners in the U.S. cite protection or self-defense as a reason for owning a firearm.
  • Concealed carry permit laws can lead to increases in violent crime by 13-15 percent.
  • The number of firearms manufactured in the U.S. has gone up nearly three times in the last 10 years.
  • A Caucasian U.S. citizen is twice as likely to own a firearm as an African American citizen.

About the Filmmaker

Dan Protess is the producer and director of Firsthand: Gun Violence. He most recently wrote and produced a half-hour documentary about mayoral candidate Lori Lightfoot, in addition to the second season of his award-winning series Urban Nature, which explores how nature is thriving in American cities.

Dan served as the executive producer, producer, and writer of the WTTW-produced PBS primetime history series 10 That Changed America. Its final season was seen by more than 10 million viewers on television, online, and at events across the country.

Dan’s previous productions include the culinary series FOODPHILES, as well as the Chicago history specials Chicago Time Machine, Chicago’s Loop: a New Walking Tour, Biking the Boulevards, and Chicago’s Lakefront. He also wrote and produced the Emmy-winning, James Beard-nominated The Foods of Chicago: A Delicious History. Dan previously produced candidate forums and feature stories for the nightly newsmagazine program Chicago Tonight, for which he covered the U.S. Senate campaign of Barack Obama.

About the Storytellers

Reality Allah is an outreach worker with READI Chicago who spent 22 years in prison for murder. He was actively involved in a gang at a very young age and refers to the year he turned 11 as his “breakout year for violence.” Reality vowed to help others like him if he ever got out of prison, and the documentary follows him as he makes good on that promise.

Julie Anderson is a mother whose eldest son Eric, then a 15-year-old gang member, shot at a van carrying rival gang members. Two women were murdered instead, and Eric was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole. Julie has since dedicated her life to criminal justice issues, advocating on behalf of incarcerated individuals and their families.

Jsaron Jones is a 29-year-old whose life was turned upside down when a neighborhood rivalry result-ed in a gunshot wound to his leg. Homebound for months, most of his associates abandoned him, but his childhood friend Deron, an outreach worker, assisted Jsaron in his recovery and gave him a transitional job. But a gun charge threatens to put him in prison, and his “love affair” with guns persists.

India Hart is a college-bound high school senior from the Auburn Gresham neighborhood who navigates major life events such as prom and graduation in the wake of the shootings of her father, her uncle, and a friend. We watch as she learns to manage her PTSD with the help of her family.

Noemi Martinez, whose son Andy was murdered 15 years ago, has dedicated her life to helping her fellow survivors. Having watched her mother struggle after her brother was also killed, Noemi started working for the organization Chicago Survivors, responding to crime scenes and managing support groups.

Laying the Groundwork

Every moment of Firsthand: Gun Violence is filled with information, references, and conversation prompts, both aural and visual. Allow yourself time to process the film with others after the screening. 

Creating a Safe Space

Firsthand: Gun Violence deals with a subject matter that is personal to many people and is filled with many issues that are complex, nuanced, and can be difficult to discuss. In order to create the most productive outcome, you will want to ensure that everyone feels welcome and safe in order to maximize discussion.  

Try to pay attention to the details of the film – the relationships between the key subjects, the references that the subjects make, and the environment that they are in. Pay attention to your own physiological responses. Often, our deepest insights can come when we pay attention to our own emotional and visceral reactions. Choose not to turn away, as your own reactions are opportunities that can lead to meaningful discussions. Stay open to your own reactions to the feelings, thoughts, and ideas shared, as they touch your own fears, anxieties, anger, grief, and joy. As much as possible, make notes of your responses as you watch the film, as they can be meaningful during later discussions.  

Consider Timing

The entire film is approximately 90 minutes long. Some may prefer to watch portions of the film or to focus on a few of the shorter segments. You may also want to allow at least an hour after the film for discussion.

Follow Up

The film will raise many concerns that will not be resolved after the screening. Find time to follow up with viewers, offering opportunities for resource sharing with others working around these issues. See the appendices for a list of local and national organizations and resources related to addressing gun violence.  

Consider Your Audience

Although unrated, the film may be best viewed by mature audiences and teens. There is little to no visual content that may be considered objectionable; however, the subject matter deals directly with violence, the death of loved ones, incarceration, and homicide. Do not hesitate to ask an expert (mental health worker, street violence outreach worker, scholar, etc.) to help guide your discussion or be present for the screening and discussion.

2-4 Weeks Prior
  • Develop your invitation list.
  • Select a location that allows for good screening and ensure that proper seating and audio-visual equipment will be available and set up.  
  • Be mindful of any security needs. Many venues require security based on the number of attendees.
  • Be sure that your location is accessible to all. Consider the visual, auditory, language, and physical needs of your viewers.
  • Design and send an e-mail that describes the name and purpose of the film, the purpose of the discussion, the format of the post-screening discussion (panel discussion, moderated Q & A, small group discussions, open discussion format, peace circles, snacks or dinner, etc.).  If you are planning a potluck or other special aspects, make sure to include this information in your invitation, as well. 
  • If you are in a setting that does not allow for a minimum of two hours to both watch and discuss the film afterward (such as during school hours or at an afterschool or outreach program), you may want to show shorter clips from the film, highlighting one or two of the participants’ stories, or smaller sections of their stories. Make sure you have allowed enough time for set up, as well.  
2 Weeks Prior
  • Make reservations for any food or beverages you plan to have for the discussion, and decide whether you want to offer this before, during, or after watching the film or discussion.
  • Prepare an agenda. This can be as formal or informal as you wish; however, you may want to consider who will introduce the film, the start time of the film and the subsequent start time of the discussion, who will facilitate the discussion, and wrap-up and evaluation procedures. The discussion guide can serve as a tool to provide discussion questions, prompts, and resource sharing related to the film in order to have a robust and meaningful discussion.
1 Week Prior
  • Send a reminder e-mail to those that have RSVP’d and those who have not.
  • Consider sending RSVP’d guests a link to the film’s website and social media pages to engage them with information about the film and get your guests excited about the event. You may want to consider sending a link to one of the articles listed in the resource page to prepare them for the screening and discussion.
3 Days Prior
  • Reconfirm your location and any food and beverages for the event.
  • You may want to send a final e-mail to RSVP’d guests as a reminder and send any links to the late RSVPs. 
Day of the Event
  • Arrive early for set up and check all audio-visual equipment (sound, lighting, etc.).
  • If your venue is large, be sure to place signs throughout the venue to direct your guests to the screening area. 
  • Have your agenda on hand.
  • Ensure that all participants know their roles and have prepared in advance.
  • Welcome everyone and introduce the film!
Day After the Event
  • Send a thank-you note to all guests who attended, and include any follow-up activities.
  • Consider the other actions you may take after viewing the film and work accordingly.

Viewing and Discussing the Film

The film follows five men and women whose lives have been impacted by gun violence. The film explores several issues surrounding gun violence, including family survivors of gun violence victims, perpetrators of gun violence and their family members, youth and their family impacted by gun violence, and issues of trauma. The film also hints at economic and social conditions that prompt gun violence, including issues of housing, education, family support and stability, work and employment, and support for victims and survivors. Our country has a long history with gun violence, and our relationship to guns is embedded within our Constitution. Issues of race, class, and gender also influence the impact and interpretation of gun violence and gun violence laws, and there are a multitude of topics that can spring from the viewing of this film. These include:

  • How does race intersect with how gun violence is portrayed in the media in urban environments versus rural environments?
  • How do previous laws and policies impact issues concerning mass incarceration and the criminal justice system in the lives of urban residents?
  • How do we view victims and perpetrators of gun violence in our city?  
  • What different types of individuals do we sympathize with concerning gun violence?
  • Are there limits and strengths of our current gun laws, including Second Amendment rights and local municipal laws?
  • Are incidents such as Laquan McDonald’s shooting by Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke different than the intraracial and interpersonal violence we see in Chicago neighborhoods? In what way?
  • How do the number of homicides that have resulted in an arrest and conviction, also known as a clearance rate, reflect the relationship between the community and the Chicago Police Department?  
  • How do we treat trauma survivors, and do we have adequate resources in order to serve the mental health needs of urban communities?
  • Do we have adequate resources for family members whose family are both victims and perpetrators of violence?  
  • In what ways is gun violence in Chicago similar or different from mass shootings that occur throughout the country? 
  • Are there leaders in your community or beyond whom you respect as champions of the views you hold concerning gun violence? If not, how might you create the leadership you want to see?
  • One of the leading forms of death associated with gun violence is suicide. How do we work within the community to address gun violence in the form of suicide?

Reality Allah

Reality Allah

Key Themes: Permanent and Supportive Housing, Reentry, and Recidivism

Reality Allah is an outreach worker with READI Chicago who spent 22 years in prison for murder. He was actively involved in a gang at a very young age and refers to the year he turned 11 as his “breakout year for violence.” Reality vowed to help others like him if he ever got out of prison, and the documentary follows him as he makes good on that promise.

Discussion Questions

Part I

Running Time: 11:13
  1. What stood out to you concerning Reality’s story? Did anything surprise you? 
  2. Are young people who were like Reality set up to fail? How does our current educational system miss opportunities for engagement with young people who are like Reality was in his youth? How can the educational system better support young people?
  3. What stood out to you in terms of Reality’s actions and what he shared?
  4. Why do we need to hear the voices and experiences of people like Damien? What impacted you as you heard his story?
  5. Many practitioners in the violence prevention field share the phrase “hurt people hurt people,” referring to how many perpetrators of violence were once victims of violence. What are our individual beliefs about these young people who are victims of violence before they become perpetrators?
    1. What systemic barriers exist to prevent their reentry into the community?
    2. Why might individuals commit violent crimes again after being released? Do you recognize any impediments that may cause any of the individuals to reoffend?  

Part II

Running Time: 10:47
  1. What are the root causes of violence explored in the film?
  2. What are some of the ways that Reality offered support to the men he worked with?
  3. How can we better support those formerly involved in the criminal justice system with their respective needs, including housing, employment, and education? 
  4. A housing cooperative is formed when people join on a democratic basis to own or control the housing and/or related community facilities in which they live. What can be the future for cooperative housing for this population?
    1. What do we need to develop in terms of supportive housing for the population Reality serves?
    2. What are the barriers and the challenges? What are the possibilities?
  5. What do you believe was the impact of Reality’s childhood and adolescent behavior on Reality’s mom? What about his incarceration?
    1. How we can better support parents such as Reality’s mother when their children are going through difficult times? 

Part III

Running Time: 9:54
  1. Cognitive behavioral therapy is an evidence-based tool used in many programs that work with high-risk individuals and returning citizens. Are there other tools you believe would be effective in helping change a person’s mindset?
  2. Reality’s story illustrated several pathways toward engaging in society for those most at risk for gun violence. Which of these do you feel is most critical for success for these men (and women) and why?
    1. What do you believe motivates Reality to do his job and the type of work that he does?

Julie Anderson

Julie Anderson

Key Theme: Support Services for Incarcerated Offenders and Family Members

Julie Anderson is a mother whose eldest son Eric, then a 15-year-old gang member, shot at a van carrying rival gang members. Two women were murdered instead, and Eric was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole. Julie has since dedicated her life to criminal justice issues, advocating on behalf of incarcerated individuals and their families. 

Discussion Questions

Part I

Running Time: 10:17
  1. In what ways do you see yourself or persons you know in Julie’s story? 
  2. How did you experience connection with and/or disconnection to Julie’s story?
  3. Is it easier or more difficult to empathize with Julie because of her skin color? Does race impact empathy, our ability to connect with stories of people who are different from us, or come from different communities? 
  4. How does Eric describe being a part of gang?
    1. Why do teens decide to join a gang? 
    2. How do we define gangs in Chicago? What do you know about their inception and purpose?
  5. How do Eric’s perceptions as a 39-year-old differ from that of his 15-year-old self?
  6. In Bryan Stevenson’s seminal book Just Mercy, he states, “Each of us is more than the worst thing we’ve ever done.” Do you believe perpetrators of gun violence deserve redemption? 

Part II

Running Time: 13:16
  1. Does her story highlight the racial disparities of the justice system?
  2. Do you believe it is important for family members of people in prison to receive adequate support in order to stay connected to their loved ones (including visitation, access, etc.)? Why or why not?
  3. What are the benefits and the limits of our current criminal justice system?

Part III

Running Time: 8:02
  1. Should any child or adolescent be charged as an adult for a crime? Elaborate on your answer.
  2. Was Eric’s sentence too harsh? How can we incorporate fair sentencing for young people who commit violent acts?
  3. Julie questions the statement “If you do the crime, you pay the time.” What sentence is long enough? What does accountability mean to you?  
  4. Do we adequately prepare incarcerated persons for their return as full citizens to our society? If no, what can we do better to prepare them? If yes, what are the reasons you believe this is so? 
  5. Do we adequately prepare our communities to receive returning citizens?

Jsaron Jones

Jsaron Jones

Key Themes: Gun Possession; Second Amendment; FOID Cards; Recidivism; Employment

Jsaron Jones is a 29-year-old whose life was turned upside down when a neighborhood rivalry resulted in a gunshot wound to his leg. Homebound for months, most of his associates abandoned him, but his childhood friend Deron, an outreach worker, assisted Jsaron in his recovery and gave him a transitional job. But a gun charge threatens to put him in prison, and his “love affair” with guns persists.

Discussion Questions

Part I

Running Time: 10:18
  1. How does Jsaron describe being a part of gang?
    1. Why do teens decide to join a gang?
    2. How do we define gangs in Chicago? What do you know about their inception and purpose?
  2. When Jsaron was in the hospital after being shot, what role did his friends play in offering him support?
  3. Why might the paths of Jsaron and his friend have diverged so drastically? 
  4. Experts estimate that the cost of a non-fatal shooting in Chicago is approximately $1.1 million, which includes an emergency room visit, hospitalization, and prosecution. What should our role as citizens and taxpayers be concerning health care for victims and survivors of gun violence?
  5. At the end of Part I, Jsaron shares that being in Chicago means always being prepared (concerning gun violence). What does he mean by this?  
  6. Is there a “cost” to being vigilant concerning gun violence (mental, emotional, physical)?

Part II

Running Time: 7:01
  1. Every solution begins with a question. When law enforcement starts to ask why people commit crimes, we develop better strategies for crime prevention. Why does Jsaron feel the need to carry a gun?
  2. Jsaron owns a FOID card, but nevertheless is still charged with a misdemeanor after being investigated by the police. Does our society view gun ownership differently in large cities versus small towns? What are your views on gun ownership?
    1. What makes those in urban, low-income communities different from those in rural communities concerning gun possession and ownership?
    2. Should all guns be outlawed?  
  3. What do our current gun laws say about our society?

Part III

Running Time: 6:18
  1. Jsaron decided to leave the job program he was involved in.
    1. What do you believe affected Jsaron’s choices concerning employment?
    2. What fears, hopes, or questions do you have concerning Jsaron?

India Hart

India Hart

Key Themes: Trauma; Access to Trauma Recovery; Mental Health Services; Neighborhoods and Education 

India Hart is a college-bound, high school senior from the Auburn Gresham neighborhood who navigates major life events such as prom and graduation in the wake of the shootings of her father, her uncle, and a friend. We watch as she learns to manage her PTSD with the help of her family.

Discussion Questions

Part I

Running Time: 6:31
  1. Do you believe India’s story is common among Chicago youth? How are her experiences similar or different from young people you know?
  2. Chicago has been described as a city of neighborhoods. How are the neighborhoods of today similar to or different from those you experienced as young person?
  3. For Chicago youth, going from one block to the next can be a high-stress ordeal, even a life-or-death experience. How do we create neighborhood safety for our youth?

Part II

Running Time: 12:27
  1. Many scholars and violence prevention experts believe that there are root causes underlying violence that contribute to the high rates of violence. Discuss what you believe are some of the root causes. What suggestions do you have to address them?
  2. Tonika Lewis Johnson’s “Folded Map” project (https://www.tonijphotography.com/projects/6836945) highlights the disparities in neighborhoods across Chicago, including how diverse neighborhoods are viewed.  What realities exist among different communities? What myths exist?
  3. What do you imagine a safe and healing community/neighborhood could be for Chicago’s youth and families/community members?
  4. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is defined as a disorder that develops in some people who have experienced a shocking, scary, or dangerous event. Nearly everyone will experience a range of reactions after trauma, yet most people recover from initial symptoms naturally. Those who continue to experience problems may be diagnosed with PTSD. What are some of the symptoms of PTSD that India described? How does she address her illness?
  5. A trauma-informed approach is one that recognizes the role trauma plays in the lives of patients and seeks to shift the clinical perspective from “What’s wrong with you?” to “What happened to you?” by recognizing and accepting symptoms and difficult behaviors as strategies developed to cope (). A healing-centered approach is one involving culture, spirituality, civic action, and collective healing. A healing-centered approach views trauma not simply as an individual, isolated experience, but rather highlights the ways in which trauma and healing are experienced collectively, and moves the question from “What happened to you?” to “What’s right for you?” Do you believe there is a difference between trauma-informed and healing-centered approaches? Which one do you think would be the most impactful in helping your community? 
  6. A ritual can be described as a system of rites, a ceremonial action, or an act regularly repeated in a set, precise manner. What rituals do you see that have been created or re-imagined in communities such as India’s that has been impacted by gun violence? Are there new rituals that can take place to reinforce healing, transformation, and celebration? 
  7. The prom and graduation are celebrations and serve as rites of passage for America’s youth. What is the tragedy and the hope that you witnessed in India’s preparation for and attendance at her big events? 

Part III

Running Time: 7:11
  1. Read “And How Are the Children?” (http://www.sedl.org/txcc/resources/strategies/ayp/RocksRiversandWetBabies13/AndHowAretheChildren.pdf)   

Take a moment to reflect upon the reading and India’s story. In your own words, how are the children of Chicago?

  1. There has been an estimated 200,000 African Americans who have left Chicago since 2000. Reflect and share your thoughts about this “exodus” of Chicagoans.  
  2. Protective factors are things that can contribute to the mental health and well-being of a young person growing up in a community. India’s parents serve as protective factors in her life and are examples of how we can support a young person in need. What are some of the ways that her mother demonstrates this in the film? What are other examples of protective factors that we can enhance in the lives of young people?

Noemi Martinez

Noemi Martinez

Key Theme: Homicide Clearance Rates; Support for Families of Victims of Gun Violence

Noemi Martinez, whose son Andy was murdered 15 years ago, has dedicated her life to helping her fellow survivors. Having watched her mother struggle after her brother was also killed, Noemi started working for the organization Chicago Survivors, responding to crime scenes and managing support groups.

Discussion Questions:

Part I

Running Time: 10:42)
  1. The media can highlight the impact upon victims of gun violence and family members after a shooting occurs; however, after the cameras disappear, family members are left with the aftereffects of the loss of a loved one. How does our society support community members after the loss of a loved one to gun violence? Do some survivors deserve more attention than others? In what ways do we “blame” or “support” the victim in our actions and collective memories?
  2. Are there enough services available to support families and community members who are dealing with the loss of a loved one due to gun violence? If not, what barriers or challenges exist to develop these? If yes, share some of the ways your community does this.
  3. What tools do we have in our schools and public spaces to help with grieving and trauma recovery? 

Part II

Running Time: 11:40
  1. Many practitioners discuss the importance of resilience of trauma survivors; however, survivors are often re-triggered by secondary traumatic events. How can we be supportive of survivors in ways that do not re-trigger and/or re-traumatize them?  
  2. Chicago Survivors is an example of an innovative and pragmatic intervention to support families most impacted by violence. What other types of interventions do we need for prevention and intervention concerning gun violence?

Part III

Running Time: 6:05
  1. A clearance rate refers to the number of homicides that have ended in an arrest and conviction of a perpetrator. Chicago has a 17 percent clearance rate for homicides. What are some of the reasons and/or conditions that you believe make Chicago’s rate so low? What role can the community play in helping address the clearance rate?
  2. Considering the low rate of crimes being resolved in Chicago, what are some of the ways communities and victims respond to crime? For example, do people take matters into their own hands? Do they continue to work with and rely on police? Do they give up?
  3. In many ways, Noemi is seeking justice for her son. Describe your definition of justice. How does the definition of justice differ from community to community, neighborhood to neighborhood? How does that definition of justice impact crime clearance rates? 
  4. Does the criminal justice support healing?  If so, how? If not, how could we redesign the criminal justice system to support healing for all parties involved?
  5. Noemi says that she is living for her son and grandson. Whom do you live for? What are some of the reasons you are committed to making a difference in the lives of others?


Acclivus, Inc.

Alliance of Local Service Organizations (ALSO)


Chicago CRED

Chicago Crime Lab

Chicago Survivors

Chicago Torture Justice Center

Child Welfare League of America

Communities Partnering 4 Peace

Enlace Chicago

Gun Violence Archive

Healing Hurt People Chicago

Heartland Alliance-READI Chicago

Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence

Inner-City Muslim Action Network (IMAN)

Institute for Nonviolence Chicago

The John Howard Association of Illinois

Kids Off the Block

The Marshall Project

Mothers/Men Against Senseless Killings (MASK)

The National Child Traumatic Stress Network

New Life Centers of Chicagoland

The Northwestern Neighborhood and Network Initiative

Precious Blood Ministry of Reconciliation

Project H.O.O.D.

Restore Justice Foundation

Safer Foundation

St. Sabina’s Violence Intervention

Storycatchers Theatre

Target Area Development Corp

Teamwork Englewood

The Trace


Chicago and Gun Violence

The Marshall Project: Southside

“The Bleeding of Chicago”

“The Impact of Gun Violence on Children, Families, and Communities”

“‘Staggering’ number of children exposed to violence in Chicago; new study says kid population greater in high-homicide areas”

“Father Michael Pfleger: Gun Violence ‘Not Just a Chicago Problem’”

Chicago Is Not Broke

Protective Factors

“Protective Factors to Promote Well-Being”

“Incarcerated Youths’ Perspectives on Protective Factors and Risk Factors for Juvenile Offending: A Qualitative Analysis” 

Parents of Prisoners 

Support for Parents of Prisoners

Programs for Children of Incarcerated Parents

DHS Resource for Families of Prisoners

Race, Trauma, and Violence

Race: A curated collection of links (links to books of distinction on race, violence, and mass incarceration)

“The Case for Reparations”

“From Lynching Photos to Michael Brown’s Body: Commodifying Black Death”

Historical trauma and cultural healing

Critical Empathy 

School-to-Prison Pipeline/Incarceration of Adolescents

Juvenile Justice: A curated collection of links

The Trouble with Reentry: Special report from the John Howard Association of Illinois

“School-to-Prison Pipeline”

“First Strike: Educational Enclosures in Black Los Angeles”


  1. https://chicago.suntimes.com/2018/12/30/18314619/chicago-s-2018-murder-total-falls-for-second-straight-year-but-still-tops-530
    Most facts were pulled from The Trace, an independent and nonpartisan news organization focused on gun violence in America.
  2. https://www.chicagobusiness.com/crains-forum-gun-violence/hidden-costs-push-price-citys-gun-violence-billions
  3. https://www.ted.com/talks/bryan-stevenson-we-need-to-talk-about-an-injustice?language=en#t-943785
  4. National Institute for Mental Health, May 2019. https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/post-traumatic-stress-disorder-ptsd/index.shtml
  5. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2019
  6. Ginwright, Shawn, 2018. http://kinshipcarersvictoria.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/OP-Ginwright-S-2018-Future-of-healing-care.pdf