Monday, July 22, 2013

Day 15: Creating Social Change

Today was my last Monday in the Social Justice Research Academy program.

For the first part of class, representatives from the Media Mobilizing Project (MMP) came and talked to us about their organization. According to the MMP website, "MMP exists to build a media, education and organizing infrastructure that will cohere and amplify the growing movement to end poverty. We use media to organize poor and working people to tell our stories to each other and the world, disrupting the stereotypes and structures that keep our communities divided." A student in my class said a quote that really relates to MMP's views on mainstream media: "Mainstream media is rich people hiring rich people to teach middle class people to hate the poor."

For the second part of class, community organizers Steve Honeyman and Andres Freire, came and had a Community Organizing Skills Training workshop with us. They talked to us about a lot, but the workshop revolved around certain points: 

1. Characteristics of social change work 
2. Experience or an observation of real change
3. How do I make my involvement more productive for myself
4. Power and self-interest
5. Culture as a vehicle for social change 

Both of today's class sessions were interesting and gave our class more of an idea of what we can do to create social change in our communities, and eventually the world. MMP helped me to realize that you can turn media into a positive use for a cause or organization. Stories that were not being told in the News were being created into videos and shown by MMP. MMP creates change and inspires people to tell their story. The Community Organizing workshop was very helpful, because I am a part of different organizations and the workshop helped me to look more deeply into their missions and their accomplishments. The workshop also helped me to think about which of the organizations I really enjoy being a part of, and which ones I don't. 

After class we watched "Paris is Burning," which is a documentary film about the ball culture in New York City, and the involvement of African-Americans, Latinos, gay and transgender communities. The film explored these people's lives, their dreams, and their realities. It also explored gay and transgender people's involvement with hustling and prostitution. Most of them struggled with money and their places in society, but had been able to lead enjoyable lives, a large part due to becoming themselves through ball culture. The film helped me to realize more about how people are classified and categorized into groups, and how inaccurate that is. 

The film was very interesting and I really liked it. There are people I know that would definitely benefit from watching this film. Whatever your view is on gay and transgender communities, specifically Colored communities, this is still a good way to educate yourself, so encourage everyone to watch this film.
Some classmates and I talking about "Paris is Burning."

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