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Meet the teacher who's trying to turn gunshots into camera shots.

His movement is a step away from gun violence and a step toward peace.

Meet the teacher who's trying to turn gunshots into camera shots.

This teacher found a brilliant way way to respond to gun violence ... through a camera lens.

Photo by Yasin Osman/#ShootForPeace; all images used with permission.

Yasin Osman has lived in the crime-rattled neighborhood of Regent Park in Toronto, Canada, all his life and is thus all too familiar with gun violence. He's seen friends shot before his eyes and says most locals have had at least one friend or relative shot dead.



As Yasin grew up, he also grew tired of hearing the same gun-related stories over and over again. He wanted to find a way to change the conversation from one of fear and hate into one of art and creativity.

Yasin began a project called #ShootForPeace — an idea born out of a weekly excursion he took with kids from the neighborhood, several cameras, and the goal of teaching how to take great photos.

Photo courtesy of Yasin Osman.

As a local early childhood educator and professional photographer, Yasin was the perfect person to lead this charge.

The project started because of a conversation he had with the kids about Instagram, Yasin told Upworthy. 

"A few of the kids were asking me about my Instagram photos one day. They had very specific questions like 'How do you blur the background?' and 'How do you take a photo of a moving car?'" he explained. 

"What sparked the idea for #ShootForPeace was because of how interested they were in the technical aspect of photography."

He formed a photography group made of 12 kids between the ages of 8 and 16 and started small — photographing Regent Park — but they quickly branched out to the surrounding neighborhoods, areas many of the kids had never even seen.

Photo by 16-year-old Ali Shali.

"The first week we had class, kids couldn't wait to get their hands on the cameras. They wanted to shoot everything, especially the CN tower. It was very inspiring," recalled Yasin.

The idea was to get the kids to see "shooting" as a creative outlet rather than a destructive one.

Photo by 10-year-old Adam Elisar.

The classes are simple enough — they usually meet on Sundays and head to a predetermined spot where Yasin gives the kids a photography challenge. 

Photo by 12-year-old Mutada Abdelkarim.

Not only is Yasin seeing the kids' enthusiasm for photography grow, he's noticing they're becoming truly gifted "shooters." 

For example, Mumu (short for Mutada), one of his youngest students, came to class not even knowing how to turn on a camera and would often take photos with the lens cap still on. Now, he's schooling some of the class' most esteemed photography mentors.

According to Yasin, when Charlie Lindsay (a well-known NBA photographer) came by one of the classes, he tried to explain to Mumu how to photograph a ball in mid-air without a blur only to be startled by Mumu interrupting him, "[you change the] shutter speed!" 

"Charlie's face was priceless," Yasin recalls. "He looked over at me and said, 'How old are these kids and how are they shooting on manual already?'"

Yasin just laughed and told him the kids were geniuses. 

The best thing about the class is that it's just as rewarding for Yasin as the teacher as it is for his students.

When you finally get the shot you've been waiting for so patiently. #ShootForPeace - see the rest on snapchat: riceandbananas

A video posted by Toronto | #ShootForPeace (@yescene) on

"My favorite thing is seeing the joy on their faces when they take a shot that they like and how eager they are to show one another. They remind me every Sunday why I love photography," said Yasin.

If this sounds like a project you'd like to bring to your own neighborhood, Yasin has some sound advice:

"Talk to the kids. Don’t start anything until you consult them and ask them what they’re interested in," he says.

Photo by Yasin Osman.

Yasin fervently believes #ShootForPeace belongs to his students just as much  — if not more — than to himself. 

Their ideas about how the class should be run are vital to its success, he said, and giving them ownership over the class means they'll give it their all when they show up, and the beautiful shots will keep on coming.

Photo by 13-year-old Houzayfa Zene.

Photo by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash
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Meanwhile, outbreaks across South America, Africa, and Asia continued, as the highly contagious virus continued to kill three out of every 10 people who caught it, while leaving many survivors disfigured. It took a renewed commitment of resources from wealthy nations to fulfill the promise made in 1959.

Forty-one years later, although we face a different virus, the potential for vast destruction is just as great, and the challenges of funding, personnel and supply are still with us, along with last-mile distribution. Today, while 30% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, with numbers rising every day, there is an overwhelming gap between wealthy countries and the rest of the world. It's becoming evident that the impact on the countries getting left behind will eventually boomerang back to affect us all.

Photo by ismail mohamed - SoviLe on Unsplash

The international nonprofit CARE recently released a policy paper that lays out the case for U.S. investment in a worldwide vaccination campaign. Founded 75 years ago, CARE works in over 100 countries and reaches more than 90 million people around the world through multiple humanitarian aid programs. Of note is the organization's worldwide reputation for its unshakeable commitment to the dignity of people; they're known for working hand-in-hand with communities and hold themselves to a high standard of accountability.

"As we enter into our second year of living with COVID-19, it has become painfully clear that the safety of any person depends on the global community's ability to protect every person," says Michelle Nunn, CARE USA's president and CEO. "While wealthy nations have begun inoculating their populations, new devastatingly lethal variants of the virus continue to emerge in countries like India, South Africa and Brazil. If vaccinations don't effectively reach lower-income countries now, the long-term impact of COVID-19 will be catastrophic."

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Researchers at the Center for Countering Digital Hate, a not-for-profit non-governmental organization dedicated to disrupting online hate and misinformation, and the group Anti-Vax Watch performed an analysis of social media posts that included false claims about the COVID-19 vaccines between February 1 and March 16, 2021. Of the disinformation content posted or shared more than 800,000 times, nearly two-thirds could be traced back to just 12 individuals. On Facebook alone, 73% of the false vaccine claims originated from those 12 people.

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Photo by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash
True

The global eradication of smallpox in 1980 is one of international public health's greatest successes. But in 1966, seven years after the World Health Organization announced a plan to rid the world of the disease, smallpox was still widespread. The culprits? A lack of funds, personnel and vaccine supply.

Meanwhile, outbreaks across South America, Africa, and Asia continued, as the highly contagious virus continued to kill three out of every 10 people who caught it, while leaving many survivors disfigured. It took a renewed commitment of resources from wealthy nations to fulfill the promise made in 1959.

Forty-one years later, although we face a different virus, the potential for vast destruction is just as great, and the challenges of funding, personnel and supply are still with us, along with last-mile distribution. Today, while 30% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, with numbers rising every day, there is an overwhelming gap between wealthy countries and the rest of the world. It's becoming evident that the impact on the countries getting left behind will eventually boomerang back to affect us all.

Photo by ismail mohamed - SoviLe on Unsplash

The international nonprofit CARE recently released a policy paper that lays out the case for U.S. investment in a worldwide vaccination campaign. Founded 75 years ago, CARE works in over 100 countries and reaches more than 90 million people around the world through multiple humanitarian aid programs. Of note is the organization's worldwide reputation for its unshakeable commitment to the dignity of people; they're known for working hand-in-hand with communities and hold themselves to a high standard of accountability.

"As we enter into our second year of living with COVID-19, it has become painfully clear that the safety of any person depends on the global community's ability to protect every person," says Michelle Nunn, CARE USA's president and CEO. "While wealthy nations have begun inoculating their populations, new devastatingly lethal variants of the virus continue to emerge in countries like India, South Africa and Brazil. If vaccinations don't effectively reach lower-income countries now, the long-term impact of COVID-19 will be catastrophic."

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