Paterson Top Stories

A Packed House Attends Documentary on Paterson Violence

 

PATERSON, NJ – Teddy Martinez says he has been shot 11 times. Jamal Hall recalls the students lost to violence when he was a teacher at Eastside High School. Robert Harrell holds peace rallies to try to steer Paterson teenagers away from gangs.

The three of them channeled their experiences on Paterson’s streets into a documentary, “Death By Design,” that debuted last Thursday at the Fabian 8 at Center City Mall. The theater was almost filled to capacity.

Sign Up for E-News

Tom Curry was among the city residents who came out to see the film. He said the documentary gave him a sense of hopelessness and he said he could understand why some would say the violence afflicting city streets is by design.

But Curry also said he believes that the solution should be by design as well.  “I was impressed by the one speaker that said it’s going to have to start one block at a time, block by block by block, that’s a design to me,” said Curry.

Another Patersonian, Jeremy Jones, said he thought the documentary was informative. Jones said he has had four friends die on 12th Avenue from violence.  He said he himself has been shot, robbed and pistol-whipped.

Incarceration, Jones said, changed his life. After being released from jail, Jones said he has gone to college and worked for five years for an ambulance company. He also has his own business.

“They say it takes a village to raise a kid and it does,’’ said Jones, “but if you don’t have no one there, they’re just going to turn into savages and that’s pretty much what it is.”

“I was raised in an era where you fought,’’ he added. “These kids are out here just grabbing guns and killing them which is what they think is easy and I just don’t really understand it.”

Martinez and Harrell produced the film, while Hall directed it.

Hall said he has seen his own share of violence.  “It’s crazy and it’s sad because I was a teacher at Eastside High School in Paterson for 12 years and I saw a lot of kids go,” he said. “Shot. Killed. Gone. I’d have a kid come to class three months and just disappear. Don’t know what happened. Same thing with females.”

“So the violence hurts and hits home because you get to work with these kids and work real close with them and they go and that’s it,” said Hall.

Harrell hopes his community work with youths might steer some in the right direction. “Maybe this will change something,’’ Harrell said, “when they think back and say, ‘You know what, I did three or four peace rallies with Mr. H. and why am I going to do this?’ when that person puts that gun in their hand and says, ‘I want you to take somebody’s life for me.’’’

The documentary was Martinez’ idea. “I’ve seen a lot of death in our community,’’ he said, “a lot of violence, I myself am a victim of violence, I was shot 11 times.”

In Martinez’ opinion, the state of the inner city is no accident.  “Honestly speaking, I feel that in certain situations that it is designed for us to continue to be inside the struggle,’’ he said. 

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Like

Sign Up for E-News

Paterson

Upcoming Events

Sat, March 4, 2:30 PM

Morris County Library, Whippany

Italian Folk Life: Throughout Three Generations

Arts & Entertainment

Sun, March 19, 2:00 PM

Visual Arts Center of New Jersey, Summit

Ballet in the Gallery

Arts & Entertainment

Wed, May 3, 8:00 PM

NJPAC, Newark

Shen Yun 2017 at NJPAC

Arts & Entertainment

Passaic Man Sentenced to 23 Years in Kidnapping, Sexual Assault of Paterson Resident

February 16, 2017

PATERSON, N.J. - Passaic County Prosecutor Camelia M. Valdes announced Wednesday that Juan Cruz-Pena, 32 of Passaic to a combined term of 23 years in New Jersey State Prison for the Kidnapping, Aggravated Criminal Sexual Contact, and Aggravated Assault of (name withheld), 36 of Paterson.

Cruz-Pena acted with a codefendant who is is currently a fugitive with an outstanding ...

Tyler Sumter of Paterson Named to The College of Saint Rose Dean's List

February 16, 2017

ALBANY, NY (02/15/2017)-- The College of Saint Rose in Albany, New York, congratulates Tyler Sumter of Paterson, New Jersey, for being named to the Dean's List for the fall 2016 semester.

Sumter is one of 751 students to achieve this mark of academic excellence. To make the Dean's List, Sumter had to complete a minimum of 12 credit hours and achieve a semester grade-point average of at ...