License to Operate, a documentary produced by Johns Hopkins alumnus and trustee Don Kurz (A&S '77), tells the stories of reformed Los Angeles gang members who use their street cred to intervene in gang violence. They counsel families devastated by gun violence, patrol streets, and build—however grudgingly—working alliances with police officers for violence prevention. One former gang member tells the group at a meeting, "I was never a bad person, but when it came to being a banger, I was the best."
Following Thursday's film screening at JHU's Hodson Hall, a panel of experts explored the importance of storytelling and giving voice to communities in crisis.
"People in dysfunctional communities might not hear what you say, but they understand what they see," said panelist Aquil Basheer, a founder of the organization from which the film borrows its name.
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