We are honored to help the National Black Programming Consortium and Jarreth Merz to promote this important film. Our role is helping with the conversation and the backstory around the events in the film, leading up to its public television premiere on October 1st. We’ll be hosting discussions on democracy, politics, voter enfranchisement, and much more, so watch for the special African Election icon above for our continuing conversation.
by Guest Contributor Renina Jarmon, originally published at New Model Minority
I think it was Chomsky who said that Democracies by their very nature are fragile.
But then again, isn’t any democracy stable? Isn’t it fragile, delicate, tenuous and exceptional?
Every time I think of a critique of the presidents lack of a “Black Agenda” I am reminded of both Baldwin and the founding fathers.
I am reminded of Baldwin for two reasons. The first is because during the sixties he was routinely called down to Washington, at the behest of President Lyndon B. Johnson, to discuss “the negro problem.” The second reason is because Baldwin was always really clear about how our fates and lives are interconnected in this country, across race, class and gender.
My love of Baldwin is rooted in my fascination with Democracy.
A democracy, with a huge portion of its citizens prevented from participating because of prior non violent drug offense related convictions, a democracy that saddles its young with tens of thousands of dollars with the school loan debt at twenty-one, a democracy where people are quick to criticize folks on food stamps yet are mute on the newly authorized one year trillion dollar budget for two wars, a democracy that has never dealt with economic and psychological impact of three centuries of forced free labor isn’t stable, nor sustainable.
You may say, Renina is doing to much, these things are not connected, she is on that shit again.
But let me ask you this? How can these things not be connected?
Don’t we live and survive here together? This is preciously Baldwins point and why I was moved to (finally) write this piece this morning. Continue reading
by Guest Contributor Hannah Miller
The media reform movement is an offshoot and part of the civil rights movement. It was born in 1963, when Dr. Martin Luther King and Rev. Everett Parker of the United Church of Christ initiated a lawsuit against white-owned TV stations in the South for consistently portraying African Americans in a racist manner, while refusing to show any coverage of the civil rights movement.
Because of their pressure, the FCC shut down a Mississippi TV station, stating that the power and influence that media companies have gives them the responsibility to operate with the broader public interest at heart – with special consideration given to oppressed minorities.
Since then, political pressure has been brought to bear against the FCC and Congress on a wide variety of issues: female and minority ownership of stations and publications, the dangers of consolidation of the media, the need to build public communications infrastructure like cable access stations or city-owned Internet networks, and the need for everyone to have broadband access.
The percentage of our time that the American public spends with media has been steadily climbing for 40 years, and with that, its influence over our lives. The media is our environment, and the battle I am engaged in is over the nature of this environment: whether it is an environment in which ordinary people have a voice – or whether we are to passively absorb content controlled by a small number of people and corporations. Whether the media is democratic, and reflects a variety of voices.