Less than a year since being founded by 28-year-old law student and artist Amanda King, Shooting Without Bullets has developed a dedicated core of teens telling their stories through art. Their stories will be showcased in Under Exposed, a documentary film.
King began Shooting Without Bullets as a response to the tumultuous local socio-political climate kickstarted by the death of Tamir Rice in the fall of 2014. After she was named to the ensuing Cleveland Community Police Commission and serving on it for a year, King realized that it still fell short in communicating with portions of the population it was created to serve.
“The way it was structured – very meeting-oriented, very recommendation-oriented – wasn’t conducive to interactions with teenagers in particular,” she says.
This notion of invisibility and disconnection is echoed by the young people involved in the program.
“Some people acknowledge us, but for others it’s in one ear and out the other,” 16-year-old photographer Leilani Williams, a student at John Hay’s Cleveland School of Architecture and Design, comments. “Especially as black youth, we get pushed off so easily.”
“People shake us off like we’re not there or only acknowledge us for the bad things,” reiterates 20-year-old Charles Mosley, also a student at CSAD.
Follow the link to find out more about their work.