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Ceasefire Liberia NYC

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♪♫♪♫♪♫♪♫♪♫ I mean from up there I seen the lights and everything ... it was amazing. I had never seen nothing like it. And the first time I'd seen the snow I remember I ran outside with now gloves ... like 20 minutes later I came inside. My mom was like ... don't put your hands on the heater. I'm like, "I'm cold." So I put it there. Ahhh man. I was crying. I was like, "they're stabbing me in my arm." Ruthie: "You were young right? How old where you when you came here?" Um ... '87 ... So, I was like 7 years old. Ruthie: And do you remember what Liberia looks like? Hell yeah. I remember everything. Ruthie: Have you been back? Nate: No, not since 1987. A lot of people, when you talk about Africa generally, they think about ... you know, animals. Like, we've never seen a lion ... that's what I tell them, that I've never seen a lion ... I don't know if y'all know anything about history, but lions are not in West Africa, you know, where we're from. And I tell them that we don't live in huts. We live in houses. We all rich. In Africa people who are rich come here like it's nothing. Garretson: Of course. Nate: Exactly, right? I know you probably own your own house or land or whatever? Garretson: Of course. Everybody did. 500 acres, that's how much land we owned. Catherine: So, why would you come to Staten Island then? Nate: "Not by choice. If a war broke out in your country, you know ... Jimmy: ... you have to migrate somewhere else. Nate: yeah, we had to migrate ... We had to adapt. We didn't come here by choice. I'm not saying it's bad. You know, everybody wants to come to this country. But this country is really hard. Really hard. Catherine: And do you think people in Liberia who think about coming here don't understand that? Nate: In Africa they just think that money grows on trees basically. Jimmy: If it's only the African community that wants to listen, then that's good, but everyone else has to listen too. Ruthie: Part of my idea - at least originally - was to use this blogging project ... and use the video and photography to be able to dialog with the African American community. I'm telling you, the gangs ... there are so many people who died out here because of blood activity and crypt activity. And you, 13 or 14 years old, and you want to be a blood? Garretson: As they all generally surround themselves, "we are blood, we are crypt". But, deep down in your heart, looking at one another as a brother, continent-like ... You know what I mean? It creates their own general identity so that when they're in the public ... They know who to care for. You see what I'm saying, right? I got stabbed four times in my back in the back of this building right here. And it had nothing to do with me. I was coming from the back, party in 220, coming back from the party ... and someone mistook me for someone else 'cause ... my pants were black, shoes were red, shirt was red, hat was red, everything is red so ... ... and they're fighting in the back. And I got stabbed four times in my back. Just for coming through the building. Marcus: No, I really do get robbed, but it's alright. My last fight my cousin thinks I got robbed but I think, you know, I didn't do enough. Everybody else thought I got robbed, but I didn't do enough. I just, you know, want to be a good role model. Boxing teaches you how to just be a regular ... ... not a regular person, but it teaches you how to have responsibilities ... and teaches you how to take care of your time, you know what I mean? Your timing has to be perfect - whether in the ring or just how your days planned. You've got to know ahead of time. You've got to think ahead. Everything is thinking ahead. So, you know, I just want to teach the kids how to plan their lives and think ahead. Ruthie: How old are you? Marcus: I'm 18. Catherine: Are you in high school? Marcus: Nah, I'm done with high school. This year, you know, I took a year off. This fall I'll probably go to college. But, you know, that will intervene with boxing. It is what it is. I'll just have to use my time wisely. Garretson: Most of the people who come here - as soon as they know certain things ... when they come here, they don't want to go back. If you talk to a lot of people who are here they say, "I've been out of that place for 15 years ... I'm not thinking of going back." They say, "maybe I'll go back, but now now." David: What about you? Marcus: Me? I want to go back. ♪♫♪♫♪♫♪♫♪♫

Video Details

Duration: 5 minutes and 7 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
Producer: David Sasaki
Director: David Sasaki
Views: 273
Posted by: oso on May 13, 2009

We have already heard from Prince Tolkpah and Titus Algaba about their implementation of Ceasefire Liberia in Monrovia. In this video we head to the other side of the Atlantic to see how members of the diaspora blogging project in Staten Island, New York will use participatory media to encourage more dialog between Liberians living in New York and Liberia.

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