Quiet Minds Silent Streets introduces viewers to a community that has been chronically affected by gun violence. This thoughtful, eye-opening documentary asks whether they can find a new way forward with a relatively simple technique: mindfulness and meditation.
Quiet Minds Silent Streets centers around a youth group in Malton, Ontario: a neighborhood in the Greater Toronto Area that has been plagued by gun violence. In 2019, Malton was scarred by a horrific mass shooting that took the life of 17-year-old Jonathan Davis. Grappling with grief and fear, the youth in the community began looking for ways to cope.
Janice Lowe, a high school teacher and youth mentor in the community, came across a powerful TEDxTalk by Director X on the science behind meditation entitled, Message To The Man Who Shot Me. Lowe showed her students the video and proposed an idea: what if we meditate together?
The students then decided to reach out to Director X through the organization he co-founded, Operation Prefrontal Cortex; a platform dedicated to educating people on the power of mindfulness and meditation, to reduce the incidents of gun and mass violence in communities. The film follows their journey to heal the community as told from the narrative of the students, teachers, and community leaders.
The film showcases that meditation can have lasting and profound effects on one’s mental health and it should be accessible to all. Headspace chose to be a partner on this film because Headspace is dedicated to spreading awareness of the power of meditation and mindfulness as a tool and a resource. Studies show that victims and members of communities affected by gun violence experience increases in posttraumatic stress symptoms, depression, and other signs of psychological concerns. Other studies have found that, after previous mass shootings, youth felt less safe and more fearful. These findings, many of which are unsurprising, make it more important to take urgent action to prevent these shootings, particularly in light of the ongoing youth mental health crisis.
Headspace wants to be a part of the solution and is committed to helping people by making the app free and accessible to teachers, students, and healthcare professionals. Another way Headspace is getting involved is on the community and government level. In Fall of 2023, Headspace launched a partnership with the City of Hartford, working with City leaders and residents to advance mental health equity through collective efforts designed to strengthen community bonds, scale compassion, and curate resources to enhance community healing. Headspace believes bettering ourselves and those around us is the way to ensure a more peaceful, compassionate world.
Quiet Minds Silent Streets explores the transformative potential of meditation, delving into its role as a crucial tool to combat the impact of trauma and violence.