Producer's Statement

Washington Koen Media Productions (WKMP) was started with the expressed mission of producing positive, high‐impact, human‐interest media that can be utilized to inspire, inform and bring about meaningful change. With Beyond the Bricks, we feel we have a project that is a true example of that mission. The lack of quality education is at once a local issue and a national dilemma, a school problem and a community concern. Our National Campaign is one we hope will bring all the community stakeholders together to inspire them to make necessary change happen, not only where they are but also beyond. There are many examples of models and approaches that are working across the nation, and we think these ideas need to be shared so they can be replicated and even spur new ideas. Our local, national, and international communities need to find ways to share information and collaborate on these successful examples.

Our vision for the Beyond the Bricks Project is to be a portal for that exchange. Our goals with the film were two‐fold: first we wanted to give a voice to young Black men whose real stories we felt were being drowned out by all the negative perceptions too often associated with them. We wanted to expose the raw potential these young boys possess. It is our belief that Bricks can go a long way in altering negative views of our children so that we can begin to believe in their success. Secondly, we wanted to offer scholarly information about how communities can begin looking at themselves and what each of us can do to change these perceptions.

Each day we are inundated with media – everything from reality shows to 24‐hour rotation of the same news stories. What we really need more of is media that can really be meaningful in our lives. Stories that reflect our stories and teach us something about ourselves. It is our hope that Bricks does that, and it is our goal to continue to bring this message to wider audiences. Our philosophy with this project is that we must go into the communities where the work is and can be done to get schools, grassroots organizations, policy groups, parents, children and community folks to work as a unit to address the issues that communities face, so that they become healthy environments where children can be nurtured to be their best selves: better students, community members, citizens. We have an obligation to our children, and instrumental to building a better foundation for them is our duty to understand and create more supportive communities.

The Beyond the Bricks Project seeks to encourage a national conversation that brings attention to the issues, promotes the solutions, and engages communities so they are inspired to take action and make change happen.

Ouida Washington, Producer