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Journalists Film Documentary to Show Impact of Violence

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Rochester: Journalists Film Documentary to Show Impact of Violence
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A group of independent filmmakers and journalists are looking to shine the spotlight on the effects of violence through the lens of a camera.

The team is going across the country to shoot a documentary called "Vicarious."

For anyone impacted by violence, the effects can linger.

"We have young people who are promising for our future who are being taken away," said Rashad Smith.

Smith knows tragedy first hand due to violence. Last April his cousin, Lawrence Richardson, was gunned down on Dayton Street. The crime left two others with Richardson injured as well. The shooting remains unsolved.

"People are afraid of snitching, but really we're saving lives," said Smith.

Richardson was a youth mentor for the advocacy group Teen Empowerment. The 22-year old's story impacted many in the Rochester community.

"He was a resilient kind of person and his story really highlighted the Rochester community in terms of young people who are being killed," said Smith.

Richardson's story will also be a focus of the "Vicarious" online documentary project.

"We thought that Lawrence Richardson's life was a good starting point," said documentary producer Kimberly Soenen.

The team of journalists will use stories like Richardson's in 14 different communities across the country. Their documentary will explore the widespread impact of violence on everyone in the community.

"We hope to heighten people's alertness and awareness about the way in which all of our behavior impacts one another," said Soenen.

Sunday morning police officers, outreach workers and Richardson's friends and family had their pictures taken in front of the scene where he was shot for the documentary. Eileen Hurley was one of them. She is a health outreach worker for youth at the Monroe County Jail.

"Many, many, many of the youth that are incarcerated in Rochester have actually been victims to a great deal of violence and trauma in their own lives," said Hurley. "They are some of the least attended to because it turns out a lot of people view them as bad instead of traumatized."

Filmmakers say Rochester portion of the documentary will be available on the site vicarioustrauma.org within two months. Those involved hope that in some way it will make a difference.

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