The Lost Girls of Chicago

On a sunny afternoon in May 2009, LaVonte Stewart was coaching a Little League practice when two men ran across the field. The second had a gun in his hand. Stewart, a former gang member who previously spent time in prison, dove to the ground to take cover. The kids, on the other hand, stood around laughing, taking bets on whether the gunman would shoot.

Stewart was shocked. Why weren’t his players reacting?

Gun violence is commonplace across Chicago and in many other U.S. cities. For years, organizations have attempted to steer boys away from gangs. But it’s not always as simple as deciding to join or not—there are other factors beyond their control. And it’s not an issue that uniquely affects young men. Young women are also at risk.

In that moment on the field, Stewart thought about his earlier life and how he was at least partially responsible for the indifference his players showed when they saw a gun. This short documentary captures what he did next, and how it’s impacting the greater Chicago area.