A powerful new documentary video examines the human toll of gun violence.
The mini-documentary, “You’re Not Alone,” was directed by award-winning journalist and author Alex Kotlowitz and produced by Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah.
The pro basketball player was inspired to undertake the project after meeting a woman whose brother was killed in a park where he was playing ball with some friends and neighborhood children.
Kotlowitz interviewed the young survivors of Shakaki Asphy, Tyrone Lawson, and Manuel “Manny” Roman – each a young person gunned down in Chicago.
They each talk about their friend and the last time they saw them, and each teen describes their struggle to grapple with their anger and grief.
“Nobody felt anyone could possibly understand what they were going through,” said Kotlowitz. “I remember being struck by that. I’ve seen that time and time again.”
He also interviewed four of Noah’s teammates, Taj Gibson, Nazr Mohammed, Luol Deng, and Derrick Rose — who also lost friends to gun violence.
“To this day I just sit in my room sometimes and I just think about it,” says Gibson in the documentary. “I think about it every morning, every day — even if I’m just daydreaming I just think about him.”
Gibson’s childhood friend, Charles Wynn, was gunned down in 2010 on the porch of his Brooklyn home, shortly after the forward started his rookie season with the Bulls.
“I thought about retaliation. I thought about it,” Gibson says in the video. “It was right before training camp. My whole mind frame changed. I didn’t care about anything. I was just so mad all the time. I was short-fused.”
Kotlowitz hopes the video can be viewed by students in classrooms to help others who are going through similar struggles.
“Every morning I get up, look at his obituary, and say, ‘I love you, Tyrone,'” says Abryanna Morris, a friend of Lawson’s. “Everything I do, I do for you.’ Every day.”
Watch the video posted online by Alex Kotlowitz: