Diamonds Under Pressure

AP7U6954The soundtrack of Determined 2 Make It was created and performed by the boys and girls of the Southeast Michigan Juvenile Justice System in Youth Arts Alliance! music workshops. Most of these young people are featured in the documentary along with workshop facilitators, Ben Cohen, Akili Jackson and Yusuf Lateef of Radiant City.  The sound is mostly hip hop with original lyrics written by the youth with their poetry, stories of pain and suffering, and hopes and dreams for the future. Radiant City produced an album, Diamonds Under Pressure, with the 9 songs created in the workshops. To listen to the tracks, click on the following link:

Determined 2 Make It Soundtrack


Imagination is Free

“When we think about our imagination we aren’t locked up, we’re anywhere we want to be.” – Mary Thiefels, artist
Determined 2 Make It, documentary on youth in the Michigan Juvenile Justice System.

Washtenaw County Youth Center

Production shot of youth painting a mural at the Washtenaw County Youth Center with artist Mary Thiefels. The title of the mural is Anything is Possible.

Determined 2 Make It

Determined 2 Make It

Youth in the Juvenile Justice System of Southeast Michigan search for ways to tell their stories through hip hop music, visual arts and public murals. Through their interaction with art, these boys and girls create a space to reflect on hardships, expectations and hope, revealing a unique perspective on who they are and what lies ahead.

Stay tuned for the trailer and information about screenings.

Latinas and Latinos Breaking Barriers

Check out Juan Javier Pescador’s newly released documentary exploring the experiences of Latina/o college students in Michigan (Michigan State, Grand Valley, Lansing Community College) and the multiple obstacles they face in obtaining a degree. Based on oral history interviews this film unveils the resilience and determination of Latina/os to survive and thrive against all odds.