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Stopping Teen Violence Confronting Hate Crime Creating Community Help for your Hometown

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About the Series

A PBS Documentary and Town Hall Series
And a Webcast Symposium on Crime Prevention

A Thematic Evening on grassroots Solutions: The theme of Seeking Solutions will be how local communities from coast to coast have developed effective grassroots solutions to local crime problems - teen gangs, street crime, ethnic violence, and hate crimes. Each story is locally or regionally based, but the problems are nationwide in scope. With a combination of localism, diversity and national relevance, this broadcast is ideally suited to showcase the strengths of PBS.

Broadcast Strategy: PBS will broadcast Seeking Solutions during a three-hour, prime time block on Sept. 22, 1999. Hedrick Smith Productions has produced 2 1/2 hours of programming shot in six locations from San Clemente, CA to Chicago and Washington, with town halls and segments in Portland, OR, Kansas City, and Columbia, S.C. An additional half-hour of broadcast time is being used by local PBS stations to develop related half-hour spin-offs. CPB has provided mini-grants to 14 PBS stations from Boston to Oregon.

Broadcast Description: The national program is a dynamic mix of documentary segments and town halls centering on the lessons of several success stories.

The first 'hour' is devoted to remarkable successes achieved with teen gangs by two special organizations, the Alliance of Concerned Men in Washington, D.C., and Los Hermanos, a group of Hispanic prisoners in the Oregon State Penitentiary. From these stories, we have developed one 20-minute segment and another 8-minute segment. At Oregon Public Television, we held a public dialogue among experts, activists and ordinary people to discuss what lessons can be drawn from these interventions and how other communities can build on their success.

The second 'hour' focuses on broader community efforts to prevent or combat street crime and drug dealing. The opening documentary segment is set in Chicago's Uptown, where a network of organizations have created a strong community fabric in an extraordinarily diverse section and contrary to expectations, achieved a stunningly low crime rate. The second segment shows how a church coalition, the county prosecutor's office, and secular groups have joined forces to take back the Blue Hills neighborhood from drug dealers and bolstered property values as well as quality of life. A public dialogue among experts, activists and ordinary citizens was held at KCPT, the PBS station in Kansas City.


The final 'hour' is devoted to community responses to hate crimes, such as the church burnings in southern communities like Manning and Greeleyville, S.C., but also hate violence among students in San Clemente, CA The church story shows the face of the new South, confronting the KKK, and helping to rebuild the sanctuaries, though more remains to be done. In Orange County's San Clemente High School, two vicious inter-racial crimes inspired a Course in Tolerance that can now claim to have altered the climate of prejudice among its 2,000 students and reduced the atmosphere of racism. A town hall on this topic was held at South Carolina ETV.

In addition, a symposium on crime prevention connected to the series was held Sept. 14, 1999 from 9 to 11 am at the National Press Club and broadcast live on the internet. The symposium has been archived and can be reached through this PBS home page web site for Seeking Solutions and the following web sites:

The symposium, moderated by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Hedrick Smith, included several panel discussions featuring: Secretary Richard Riley, U.S. Department of Education; Dr. Deborah Prothrow-Stith, teen violence expert, Professor and Associate Dean at the Harvard School of Public Health; Justice Department program manager; Tyrone Parker, founder and executive director of the Alliance of Concerned Men in Washington, DC; James Burch, director of Gang programs for the Justice Department"s Office of Juvenile Justice; Marcia Slacum Greene, Washington Post writer; Dr. Robert J. Bursik, Jr., criminologist from the University of Missouri-St. Louis specializing in neighborhoods and crime; Rita Simó, founder and director of the free People's Music School in Chicago; E.J. Dionne, nationally syndicated columnist; Dr. Jack Levin, a crime specialist from Northeastern University; Joe Moros, a California high school teacher who created an innovative course on tolerance; and Ray Suarez, host of National Public Radio's Talk of the Nation.

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