Bounce Back


About Bounce Back

The Buchanan Mall is a five-block public plaza in the heart of the Western Addition. The 7,000 low-income, mostly African-American residents who live adjacent to the Mall face acute challenges: recent, rapid gentrification and decades-long cycles of underemployment and mass incarceration.

Against this backdrop, a remarkable new story is unfolding, supported by Citizen Film’s signature cycle of community organizing, storytelling, reflection, dialogue and action. The community has come together to re-imagine and reclaim its central pedestrian plaza as connective tissue. Together, we are repairing the neighborhood’s fractured social fabric, celebrating local culture, creating a marketplace for neighborhood entrepreneurs, and advocating for safe, affordable housing. Our team of Community Storytellers and Advocates tell their own stories, and share those stories with decision-makers ranging from the leaders of public housing resident associations to the highest offices in City Hall.

To support the initiative, Citizen Film coordinates a coalition of 28 community-based organizations (CBOs) and City agencies, and collaborates with neighborhood groups to foster more trusting and responsive community-government relations. We also convene powerful allies outside our neighborhood like the Trust for Public Land and Exploratorium Studio for Public Space.

After five years of collaboration on the Buchanan Change Initiative, which was seeded through an Artplace America grant to Citizen Film, residents of affordable housing presented their Vision Plan and the City has adopted that plan to renovate the plaza. Buchanan Change is is currently a finalist for Prop 68 funding that could bring millions of dollars into the neighborhood. These funds would be used to renovate the plaza with, by, and for residents based on plans surfaced and vetted through our community-storytelling process of creating, showing and discussing documentary shorts.

Renovation plans include purposely-built spaces for our partnering neighborhood entrepreneurs to provide goods and services that benefit the community. Renovation will also include a lighted documentary art walk, with storytelling installations Citizen Film and its Community Storytellers and Advocates will create in a variety of media (audio “listening domes,” photomurals, scan-code-accessible films, etc. will present an evolving suite of neighborhood stories.)


For Citizen Film:
Sophie Constantinou, Tamara Walker

Community Organizers:
Widya Batin, Meseka Garcia

For Green Streets:
Tyrone Mullins, Randolph Lee, Shannon Watts, Roger Blalark

For the Trust for Public Land:
Philip Vitale

Neighborhood Task Force:
Betty McMillian, Jacque Henderson, Mattie Scott, Marie Mcallum, Raymond Wade, Stella Baker, Richard Simpson, Alicia Lynnee, Josh Alexander, Chrislyn Earle, Claudia Williams, Devonta Bolden, Donja Grant, Jabari Watkins, Rashida Watkins, Serita Dumetz