Anthony J. Sturdivant
Creator / Writer / President
Anthony is a screenwriter and producer from the west side of Chicago who's ultimately looking to make a change through film making. In 2011 he started a short film series that focuses on promoting positive messages around the world while encouraging individuals to think before they act. That film series then lead Anthony to creating a non-profit organization that focuses on developing the youth into creative leaders through the usage of youth programs and seminars.
In the Spring of 2010, Anthony was faced with the possibility of becoming a statistic in his own community when he was a victim of an armed robbery situation at his local barbershop. Anthony saw that the robber holding a gun to the back of one of his friend's head. He reacted by instinct, banging on the door to divert the attention. In an attempt to run the robber caught Anthony and then pointed the gun at him, yelling "don't move or I will shoot you". Anthony stopped and knew that his life was based on whether the gunman made the decision to pull the trigger or let him go. For those few endless seconds all he could hear was “I should shoot you” before the robber eventually decided to slowly lower the gun. Ultimately those few seconds and his decision to not shoot changed the path of both his life and as well as Anthony's.
Later that year, Anthony decided to connect the feelings and intensity of those few moments with an effort to prevent the violence in my community. He created a short film series titled “Think Before You Shoot” in order to bring awareness to the senseless shootings and stress the importance of thinking before committing an act of violence. Think Before You Shoot is a non-profit organization that provides short films and student outreach programs to visually connect and engage with the youth and communities. The goal is to emphasis attention on how one person’s decision can prevent gun violence. #TB4YS is on a mission to get individuals to think before they act/react and take responsibility for their actions.
Currently Anthony has written and produced seven short films there are available online and shown throughout the Chicago school systems. After releasing his second film in 2012 and winning a Prestige Film Award, support for the series grew from social media and community members to media coverage and most importantly, the youth. While visiting these schools for seminars and discussions, Anthony noticed that the students connected with the films and their missions. As a result, he developed a platform for students to share their experiences and inspirations. It began as a 2-hour interactive seminar but with continued interest it has now developed into a semester long creative writing and media arts curriculum. These courses give students the tools and confidence to believe that their decisions and actions can make a positive change for them and their communities.