Videos: Caprysha, Lil Mikey, Kenneth… Where Are They Now?
Follow @azmatzahraFebruary 14, 2012, 9:09 pm ET
“You did two years out of your life. Wasn’t that enough time for you to get your life together?” interrupter Ameena Matthews asks Caprysha near the end of the film.
A day after Caprysha walked away from Ameena in the park, she was back in a juvenile correctional facility for violating her parole. Ameena went to visit her at the Illinois Youth Center at Warrenville shortly after. “I was happy to see her,” Caprysha confides in an emotional moment in the above video.
“When she gets out, what awaits Caprysha is her,” Ameena said at the time. “It’s gonna be a rough road.”
In January 2011, Caprysha earned her high school diploma while in the center. It’s an accomplishment she says she never expected to achieve. “I might’ve had a lot of bumps in the road, my attitude problem, crushing everybody, but I wound up going to school, just doing what I need to do the most,” Caprysha said proudly at her graduation ceremony, where Ameena also spoke.
Today, Caprysha is back in a juvenile detention center for violating her parole, but Ameena says things are different. “She’s really taking ownership of her part that she has to play in her life today,” Ameena says. “It’s the first time she’s talked about what she needs to do today seriously, without me telling her.”
Caprysha will likely leave the center this summer, but until then, is taking advantage of its substance abuse and life skills programs. “I’m very proud of she things she’s saying out of her mouth,” Ameena says, adding. “It doesn’t sound like she’s mimicking someone. It sounds like she’s really sick and tired of being sick and tired. And this time she knows that if she goes back, she’s going to a penitentiary, not juvie.”
Read our Q&A with filmmaker Steve James for more on Caprysha’s reaction to the film.
When we last see Toya Batey and her sons Kenneth and Bud in the film, Cobe is urging the boys to hug their mother. “Mmm, not right now,” Kenneth says.
Kenneth now says he calls his mother every day. That’s a claim his mother doesn’t necessarily agree with, as you can see in the clip above, but she admits their relationship is improving. “When you call and tell me you love me, I get worried,” Toya tells Kenneth, “but I feel good at the same time to hear it.”
Cobe reports that Kenneth has been working in a residential home for seniors for the past few months and that he now has his own place and his own car. Kenneth has also been spending more time with his brother Bud, who will be starting school in criminal justice in the next few weeks.
Toya says that Cobe has made a real difference in her sons’ lives, “because they never really had a male role model.”
At the end of the film, Lil Mikey, who had recently been released from prison, found a job working at a day care. He’s now got a new job — as the youngest outreach worker ever hired by CeaseFire. In the above clip, Lil Mikey discusses the job opportunity with Tio Hardiman.
“After spending time in prison, Lil Mikey realized how much his siblings looked up to him and he was ready to make a change,” says Tio Hardiman, director of CeaseFire Illinois. “He convinced me he was ready to be an outreach worker when he told me about his father. There was conviction in his voice. Now he’s one of our best outreach workers.”
As an outreach worker in Englewood, Lil Mikey manages a caseload of 15 participants between the ages of 16 to 25, whom he helps to find jobs and get therapy and other services. He has now been out of prison for two years now, and has a one-year-old baby, whom Cobe says didn’t cry once during a recent screening of The Interrupters.
“How can you help me? Right now. How can you help me?” demanded 32-year-old Flamo, who was full of rage after his brother was arrested and his mother was handcuffed by police. One of the film’s most memorable characters, Flamo, who now lives in Minneapolis, Minn., never anticipated the laughter he would elicit from audiences watching The Interrupters. It has led him to embark on a new career path: stand-up comedy.
“Flamo’s been taking care of his business,” reports interrupter Cobe Williams. In addition to the stand-up acts he does, Cobe says has been speaking at juvenile detention facilities and schools in the area.
Vanessa watched her 15-year-old brother Miguel die in her arms after he was shot in the head. In the film, we see Vanessa and her family visiting Miguel’s grave nearly every day.
After having difficulty at school following her brother’s death, Vanessa agreed to attend Lincoln’s Challenge, a military prep school, from which she recently graduated. Vanessa now plans to enlist in the Army reports interrupter Eddie Bocanegra. Her parents, Eddie says, are active in Grupo Consuelo, which helps parents who have lost a child to violence.
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