Some D.C. students have been busy with a summer youth employment program that's lasted into December called Do The Write Thing, which gives students video production and virtual town hall experience to tackle tough topics, like race in America.
The productions will air starting Sunday on D.C.’s District Knowledge Network, DKN.
The students gathered at Ben’s Chili Bowl on H Street on Saturday to talk about the project with News4's Derrick Ward. They described how they plunged into a cross section of issues, including questions about race and whether or not students should be paid.
“We underestimate what they can do and how they think and how they see the world,” coordinator William Marshall said. "Once they start doing it, they become very good at what they do, and they get invested."
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The students enlisted figures from law enforcement, community activism and entertainment for the pieces. They read up on their topics and produced videos.
Student Kevon Gates produced a segment with go-go music icon Sugar Bear, but it turned out to be about more than music.
“The whole segment is on the effects of racism so I had to get out of his box a little bit,” he said.
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The kids also said they learned some things about themselves. For instance, early on, Heidy Fuentes was uncomfortable hosting the town halls, but that changed by the end of the project.
"I felt proud of myself I felt like I could be in there I felt like I belonged," she said.