What a summer it's been!
This blog space has been on radio silence (internet silence?) since we announced our big grant news. That's because we just finished the biggest thing we have done so far!
With Daniel Castillo, of the Social Justice Learning Institute, we created "Changing the Narrative', a five week program based on critical media literacy with the youth of Inglewood. We felt Daniel's program of deprogramming youth of color from the narrative created by media, and Connectopod's curriculum megaphone of podcasting power were a great fit. And indeed they were. Our mission was to explore the given narrative and help them to define their own. (FYI minorities make up 6.9% of film directors, 13.8% of writers according to UCLA diversity report 2018. And we haven't even mentioned advertisers). How was their community portrayed vs what they know to be true? How are they and the people they know affected by the narrative given ? Most importantly, how do they create their own narrative?
From idea, to grant, to implementation was 2 months. We brought in guest speakers, Gabe Evans on being a media self starter, Eduardo Salazar on designing your brand, and Jessica Jewel Lanier on social media marketing. You may recognize those names from Connectopod's past episode interviews. (Episodes in links.) Once a part of the Connectopod Family always a part of the CF!
Narrator change thyself.
As always, we went in as teachers and came out as students. Knowing that the youth we were going to teach were coming from Inglewood, Compton, and South Central we didn't know what to expect. We knew they faced hardships and lack of resources. We also knew based on our experience working with youth in Pacoima, that the perceptions held of lower income parts of the city created by statistics and media don't tell the whole story of the communities thriving there. The Social Justice Learning Institute works diligently to help the residents of these challenged neighborhoods understand and address housing, education, and food inequities. SJLI's and Connectopod's collective goal was to help these youth create their own nuanced narrative that reflects their community as they experience it.
Who we met were middle school to college- aged youth. Wildly talented. Resilient. Committed. Open. Funny. Wicked smart. Wise beyond their years. And confident! They are veterans of their experiences, not victims. And like veterans, their experiences make them strong and deeply empathetic.
Something Awesome This Way Comes!
We made six episodes of Changing the Narrative. Stating Monday, we will post a new episode weekly on Connectopod's stream. We look forward to sharing the work. From Avery and Alynnah, 2 eleven year old girls obsessed with K-pop, to Paul delving deep into his own struggles with depression and mental health in communities of color, the individual narrative created is fluid, wending its way through a landscape of the collective that is engagingly diverse.
Here are the stories you have to look forward to:
The Urban Entrepreneur
From Fairytale to Feminism: A Black Girl in 3 Acts
Hand Up-Mental Health in Communities of Color
2.5 -Housing Equity
The Art Connection
Getting to The Mountaintop
Original poems and music stitch it all together.
We have fallen in love with this group. Now it's your turn!
For more pix of the process, check out our Instagram