breaking walls is an ongoing and viable global arts activism program empowering youth to discover their voice and find their place on the world stage through the arts and face-to-face dialogue.
breaking walls’ history is short yet impressive . . . In 2008 I began as documentary filmmaker eager to challenge the media’s negative imaging of youth—from this small concept the Brooklyn and Bethlehem teens came together to demonstrate that they and their peers are not predators or prey but a valuable asset in ending stereotypes and misconceptions.
breaking walls is the outgrowth of these films bethlehem to brooklyn: breaking the surface (2009) and brooklyn bridges- to bethlehem & back (2011).
I selected Berlin for our initial breaking walls workshop because the vision of dismantling the Berlin Wall inspired me to dream even larger than Bethlehem & Brooklyn. Over nine-days 16 new writer-performers from Bethlehem, Brooklyn and Berlin experienced the writing-performing workshop as well as face-to-face dialogue while touring Berlin together. The most exciting aspect of the Berlin workshop was the writing-performing was led by six Brooklyn and Bethlehem youth facilitators who were cast members of both documentaries. In the words of breaking walls Bethlehem Project Manager, Amira Abu Srour, “ It’s nice to see our kids and the Brooklyn kids who are usually seen as the ones in need of an intervention guiding others to success.” The new writer-performers are students of our partners: Al-Rowwad Cultural & Theater Training Center in Aida Refugee Camp near Bethlehem, ACORN Community High School in Brooklyn; and, Nelson Mandela Schule in Berlin.