In June, Julie Rainbow (ACG '14), Marta Sanchez (LTA '10, ACG '06, WOO '02), and Melissa Beatriz Skolnick (ACG '12) were selected from a grantee lottery to receive full registration to the Allied Media Conference (AMC) in Detroit, MI. Here is what Julie and Melissa had to say about their experience.
by Julie Rainbow
The 2016 Allied Media Conference was an awesome experience. With over three hundred workshops, entertainment activities and meet-up groups, it had something for every activist. Whether you are a seasoned activist or a novice, the workshops were engaging and informative. The workshops were presented so that attendees were actually participated while learning. Additionally, the AMC organizers were insightful to include workshops that focused on developing technical skills, enhancing leadership capacities and ways to integrate self-care tools, so that we remain inspired while doing compellingly difficult work.
The workshop “MIT Open Documentary Lab: Incubating Documentary Forms and Processes,” was particularly interesting to me as my work seeks to amplify the voices of elders and share their wisdom broadly. The presenters provided documentarians and community organizers with innovative, interactive, participatory tools for developing a platform to share their work. Another workshop of particular interest was, “Chant Down Babylon: Yoga Mantras for Movement Builders,” as it engaged participants to recite mantras and use breathing techniques to keep one grounded, focused and effective while doing the work, which at times can be overwhelming.
Throughout the four-day experience there was a feeling of collective unity, as if you were among other kindred spirits devoted to creating a world where all are treated with dignity and respect. Upon returning to Philadelphia, I am full of inspiration that will inform my activist actions of sharing the voice, images and wisdom of elders. AWESOME!
by Melissa B. Skolnick
The Allied Media Conference focuses on how we use media-based organizing across communities and social justice issues in collaborative ways. After wanting to experience the magic behind the conference for myself, I finally got the chance to attend, thanks to the Leeway Foundation!
My first day began by stumbling upon the impressive Detroit Industry Murals by Diego Rivera at the Detroit Institute of Arts. Seeing a snapshot of the history behind industrialization reminded me how art can serve as a powerful tool for capturing stories.
The next day, once the AMC officially began, I spent my time at an assembly with the Media Action Grassroots Network (MAG-Net). MAG-Net is the largest multi-issue action network for communication rights, access, and representation in the U.S. During the gathering, we talked about the importance of media justice and what drives us to do this work. I was reminded that we must not only create our own stories, but also educate others of the history of bias behind mainstream media.
During the conference, I also had the chance to screen a film that I served as a Story Producer for with Media Mobilizing Project. We screened the film Groundwork: Justice in the Birthplace of America, and spoke with the audience about how the groups featured are connected across the issues they are fighting for, including immigrant rights, education equality, and environmental sustainability.
One of my favorite sessions at the AMC included “The Revolution Will Be Podcasted,” where we learned what it would take to launch our own podcasts. It was empowering to not only start to learn a new skill, but to be inspired to create new ideas and continue working toward social justice in alternative ways.
There were so many powerful folks doing work across issues and mediums at the AMC. Being around that energy in person and learning about the work of other artists and organizers was re-energizing in a way that I appreciated. As artists, we need moments like these to come together, spark and bounce ideas off one another, and return to our work with a clearer vision of how we can all work together toward the common goal of a more just society for all.