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Tuesday, February 23, 2016
6:00–8:00 p.m.


Alumni House

CHI Rapid Response Event: Changing Youth Gun Culture in One Generation

In conjunction with the CHI 2015-2016 theme of “Raising the Healthiest Class of 2035,”please join us for our CHI Rapid Response Event: Changing Youth Gun Culture in One Generation.

Keynote will be followed by a panel discussion of different approaches to addressing this issue with our youth.

Keynote Speaker

Ian Ellis James (aka William Electric Black) is a seven-time Emmy Award winning writer (former writer for Sesame Street). Ian has been writing in the family entertainment television industry for over fifteen years. His credits in family TV include Sesame Workshop, Topstone Productions, Lancit Media, Nickelodeon,Scholastic Productions, Warner Cable, Winchester TV & Film,(London), Voodoo Entertainment, (Vancouver).

His theatre projects, under his stage name William Electric Black, have been seen in New York City, Boston, Chicago, and Los Angeles. For the past seven years he has been writing, directing, and producing plays at La MaMa ETC, New York City — where he presently runs the Poetry Electric Series. His musical, Betty & The Belrays, was performed at Theater For The New City, March 2007. In 2009 Mr. Black (Ian) directed The Lonely Soldier Monologues (Women at War in Iraq). Ian’s new rock musical, AMERICAN STAR!!!, opened in NYC 2012-2013 and his play to combat inner city gun violence – WELCOME HOME SONNY T opened in December, 2013 at Theater For The New City. His second play in the series – WHEN BLACK BOYS DIE recently closed at Theater For The New City, and his next play – The Death of A Black Man (A Walk By) opens in June, 2016.

In film, Ian has had two scripts optioned. These include Slave Ball for Silver Pictures/Warner Brothers and Road Runner for MCA Records, Jerome Ade, producer and music by Teddy Riley. He has also written, directed, and produced two independent feature films – Copy Shop and All Fall Down. Mr. James received funding from Kenneth Olden and The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences for an animated pilot he created to promote exercise and good nutrition for young children — Fighters For Fitness/Fitness Fighters. Ian has also received funding from Touro College for a prescription drug awareness cartoon.

He is writing, directing,and producing animated videos on stroke prevention with the National Stroke 
Association and childhood obesity prevention for Hip Hop Public Health under the direction of Dr. Olajide Williams featuring music by Doug E. Fresh, Chuck D, other rap artists.

He has just completed three short films to educate the Black faith-based community and the Hispanic faith-based community on stroke awareness (Gospel of Stroke, Mi Derrame Cerebral Es Tu Derrame, Stroke of Luck). Ian is also the writer and director of a new series of short films for several Chicago based chefs who focus on healthy cooking for kids (Pilot Light).

He has received several Best Play Awards, been published by Benchmark Education, The Dramatic Publishing Co., Smith & Krauss, and received a Bronze Apple for directing (National Educational Video Award). Interactive media projects include “I Hear What You’re Saying” for Columbia University’s School of Social Work and “Virtual Harlem”(Institute of Learning/Children’s Museum, NYC).

As a professor, Ian is a faculty member at NYU’s Tisch School (Dept. of Dramatic Writing/Open Arts, and NYU’s Summer High School Program). He has also taught at The Collegiate School, The Riverdale Country Day
School, Southern Illinois University, 92nd Street Y, Teachers & Writers, and TheatreWorks USA.

He is presently working on a series animated music videos featuring a teen girl band – GIRL EEE GIRLZ and a children’s book series to combat gun violence. The first book is entitled – A GUN IS NOT FUN.

Additional Panel Speakers include:
  • Mr. Wayne Hall, Sr. – Mayor, Village of Hempstead, NY
  • Robert Troiano – Former Nassau County Legislator
  • K. Bain –  Program Manager at the Riis Settlement, established and developed the first ever Cure Violence site in Queens Bridge House; Facilitator for DOHMH and a founding trainer of the New York City Cure Violence Training Academy
  • A.D.A Dana Boylan – Director of Community Re-entry Initiatives & Youth Development Programming, Nassau County District Attorney’s Office
  • Dr. Lenora Fulani – Co-Founder All Stars Project, Director, Operation Conversation: Cops & Kids


This event is free and open to the public, but space is limited. Please reserve your seat by February 19, 2016 to Audrey Onderdonk at

For further information, please contact:

Audrey Onderdonk
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