Briana and Damon could be the kids up the block. Briana does well in school and wants to follow in her sister’s footsteps to college. Damon works hard at an after-school job in a local barbershop. They hang out with friends and try to stay out of trouble.
But Briana and Damon have a mission. Voiced by Philadelphia teens, they are a pair of digitally animated street-smart characters with a Facebook page aimed at reducing urban youth violence. Working with West Philadelphian residents who are members of the Philadelphia Area Research Community Coalition, researchers from the University of Pennsylvania, Drexel University and the Philadelphia Collaborative Violence Prevention Center (PCVPC) created Briana and Damon as a novel strategy to communicate anti-violence messages grounded in community-based research. The researchers reported their findings in the American Journal of Community Psychology this month and launched the Briana and Damon animated videos on the Briana and Damon Violence prevention Facebook page.