Supporting Youth Activists Through The Art Of Filmmaking

On July 21, 2021
In Blog

Film has long been an impactful tool for bringing awareness to important social issues of both the past and present, from huge, historical fiction blockbusters to smaller, independent documentaries. As an artistic medium, film uses words, sound, and stunning visual images to stimulate the mind, inspire the imagination, and stir emotions. When done well, film has the powerful ability to usher in meaningful change world-wide and at home by telling compelling yet often overlooked stories of hardship and hope, tragedy and triumph. Consider these essential movies from Black filmmakers that confront systemic racism in America, recently highlighted by Esquire, for example.

With that said, our youth are the leaders of tomorrow, as well as the future of our country. Since the early days of the Civil Rights Movement, young people have led the charge against social injustice and inequality. Famous examples include the nine African American teenagers who formally began the end of segregation when they entered Little Rock’s Central High School in September of 1957, and the four Black students in Greensboro, North Carolina, who sat at a Woolworth’s lunch counter in 1960.

Today, we still see teen activists sparking change by leading peaceful protests, demonstrations, and marches in communities across the United States. They are also championing important causes, such as Thandiwe Abdullah, who helped create the Black Lives Matter in Schools program adopted by the National Education Association, Pennsylvania’s Arlette Morales who went to Washington, D.C. to protest the Trump administration’s push to end DACA, or the students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, who started the #NeverAgain movement to stop gun violence.

CBMR And The Coatesville Youth Media Project

The Coatesville Black Media Renaissance Initiative (CBMR) brings local artists and storytellers together to speak up, be heard, and activate change using creative means of expression. Through various artistic mediums, we are better able to inform and influence the media by shaping our own narrative. CBMR provides a vehicle to share important social issues that impact our community and serves as a platform to help transform unjust systems, policies, and practices that continue to marginalize our residents — including the youth of Coatesville.

Incubated from the CBMR, The Coatesville Youth Media Project seeks to cultivate and support youth activists through the art of filmmaking. This project aims to educate and train students, ages 13 through 18, in the technical skills and structural elements of film production, including camera operation, reporting, writing, direction, audio, and lighting. The resulting works will be promoted on social media platforms, including YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tik Tok. They will also be shared with news outlets to amplify positive messaging about the residents of Coatesville.

Teaching The Leaders Of Tomorrow

Beyond the craft, teaching young people about filmmaking exposes them to critical thinking skills that will help build their capacity to be community change makers and future leaders. As a unique art form, filmmaking combines elements of science, technology, engineering, and math that will benefit children as they continue into adulthood. It involves creativity, communication, active listening, observation, and analysis. Research, planning, and organization also come into play, as well as problem solving and teamwork.

Through the Coatesville Youth Media Project, our goal is to magnify the voices of our youth on various social, economic, racial, and health issues in Coatesville, Pennsylvania and beyond. By teaching valuable skills and encouraging the use of artistic expression to ignite positive change, we are helping to secure a brighter future for everyone. For more information on the Coatesville Youth Media Project and CBMR, click here, and be sure to read our recent blog, Artistry As A Social Movement: Black Media Renaissance Happening NOW.


The Alliance for Health Equity is a philanthropic organization striving to advance a more equitable, resilient and healthy community for all residents of the Greater Coatesville area. We pursue our mission through funding and running programs and services to improve the health and development of children, teens, and families in the Coatesville Area School District. We also provide funding to non-profit organizations and scholarships to students who need our help most. 100% of contributions go directly to those in need.