I am: George
Starting in 1989, Liberia was thrown into political and social turmoil, and went through two bloody civil wars that have devastated the economy and displaced thousands of families. Human rights abuses such as political assassinations, rape, and child soldiering were common during the civil wars, and the country is still dealing with the effects of the conflict to this day.
I came to the United States in June of 1999 with my grandmother, where we have settled in the Park Hill area of Staten Island.
I like reading, writing, running, playing soccer and basketball. In the future I want to work for a government agency or an NGO, working to better peoples’ lives.
Park Hill is consistently painted in a negative light, with stories of gangs, drug use, and murder. I hope my film will show the positive side of Park Hill, and the hopefulness of the residents. Reel Lives has taught me a lot about working with a camera, and I’ve learned a lot about the people I have been able to work with.
My Film: OUT OF THE FIRE
There are stories of hope coming out of Park Hill, a community of Liberian refugees.
Park Hill on Staten Island has become home to the largest community of Liberians outside of Liberia. The civil war, which started in 1989 and ended with the election of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in 2005, was defined by catastrophic violence, rape, drug use and child soldiering. When the youth who were involved in that war were resettled in the Park Hill section of Staten Island, they brought the legacy of that conflict with them in the form of gang violence and crime.
This film will paint a picture of Park Hill through the eyes of a young man who managed to overcome the obstacles he has faced and is struggling to better his life.