“Shine” Helps Youth Overcome

By Jeneé Darden


The cast of “Shine” at the Alameda Theatre for the film’s premiere. Arthur Renowitzky (seated), Brianna Williams (left) , Markeeta Parker. Photo Credit: Jan Stürmann.

In 2007, Arthur Renowitzky was leaving a San Francisco nightclub when an armed robber shot him. The incident left the San Lorenzo man paralyzed from the waist down and in a deep depression. Renowitzky, 24, eventually recovered from his depression thanks to family support.

“Never give up no matter what you go through in life,” said Renowitzky, now a rapper, public speaker and founder of his own nonprofit.

Renowitzky is one of three dynamic East Bay youth profiled in the powerful documentary “Shine.” The film follows their recoveries from mental health problems caused by trauma.

Markeeta Parker, 24, of East Oakland, opens up about being sexually abused since childhood.  The mental health youth advocate speaks honestly on surviving PTSD, depression and attempted suicide.

“I want viewers to learn from the film that it’s okay to share your story,” Parker said.  “Do not be ashamed of anything that has happened to you because it’s not your fault.”

“Shine” is a project of PEERS, or Peers Envisioning and Engaging in Recovery Services, an Oakland-based nonprofit that advocates for people with mental health challenges.

PEERS Transitional Age Youth Coordinator Brianna Williams, 23, lives in Oakland. Her experience with mental health challenges, beginning in adolescence, may resonate with young viewers having similar experiences. Williams hopes “Shine” influences others to think differently about mental health.

“I just want viewers to understand that having a mental health challenge doesn’t make you crazy,” Williams said.  “It just means that you lived through some life experiences, like we all do, and that you just need a little extra help to get over it.”

PEERS will screen the film in schools across the Bay Area. Visit www.peersnet.org to view the entire film for free.