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SOURCE Shawn Taylor
"Gone Too Soon" probes link between loss and lack of economic empowerment, influence
ALTON, Ill., Aug. 11, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- The lingering social and economic impact that the early deaths of black males are having on a small Midwestern town is the subject of a documentary film project called "Gone Too Soon: Alton's Endangered Black Men." The filmmaker, Alton native Shawn Taylor, has launched a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo.com to raise $35,000 to pay for a crew, equipment and production over the next year.
In Alton, Illinois, a river town that sits on the Illinois-Missouri border, early deaths of the primary breadwinners and future leaders in black families is eroding the town's economic, social and political structure. Through the lenses of two Alton families – the Caffeys and the Carmans – the film will show the lingering social, emotional and economic impact on those who had come to rely on them.
The life expectancy of black males in America is 71.1 years. While that number has increased slightly, a great many black men in Alton do not come close.
"All of my life, I've noticed that black men in Alton die young. And the grim reaper seems to favor the cream of the crop," said Taylor, a Chicago business owner who has spent most of her career working as a newspaper journalist and now owns a media consulting firm. "I believe one of the reasons African Americans hold so little of the nation's wealth is due, in part, to the early losses of its current and future breadwinners. Alton is a microcosm of this effect."
The film will look at the long-term economic impact the loss of manufacturing jobs has had on Alton. "The black middle class was devastated and a have and have-not's dynamic emerged, creating divisions that a community still struggling with issues of equality cannot afford," Taylor says.
The Indiegogo campaign perks range from $10 to $500 and include a $250 perk by which Taylor will allocate $75 to the Miles Davis memorial statue fund in Alton. Davis was born in Alton and spent the first year of his life there.
"Until now, Alton has ignored Miles Davis' legacy," Taylor said. "Erecting this statue is progress toward the community beginning to value and recognize the contributions of African Americans."
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