by Rebecca Ohnemus
As an organization grows, they experience a certain amount of pain. Organizers, allies and volunteers aren't always on the same page. In fact, they rarely come in with the same experiences, education or goals. Getting everyone on board often requires cultivating a mutual experience, developing a baseline of information and shaping momentum based on group conception.
When the Media Justice League (MJL) began to advance and grow our organization, we realized that although our varied backgrounds provided a wealth of information and experience, we lacked a solid, common ground from which to build.
The MJL's upcoming mobile justice campaign requires advanced leadership and coordination on a wide scale. Looking back on previous campaigns, our potential came to focus. Despite the individual capabilities of organizers, educators and volunteers, we knew we could do a better job teaching each other if we created a space for learning.
In order to move forward together, we decided there must be a foundation of knowledge. We needed a mutual understanding of media justice history and theory; a way of instilling a sensitivity to racial and economic justice in allies of all walks. In addition, we needed to develop interpersonal and organizational leadership in new allies.
Our curriculum grew out of the necessity to further develop our own experiences. We selected articles, books and video from our own training and research. We compiled a list of works we felt impacted and formed media justice theories and would expand upon our individual perspectives, bringing cohesion and understanding.
The topics chosen include critical analyses of power, privilege, popular education, media and representative democracy. Drawing from both practical and theoretical perspectives, we selected a balance of both light and difficult material, delving as a group into the root of deeply seeded issues.
Our hope in creating this framework is purely selfish: the more information our allies draw from, the better we can represent our points and perspectives on a large scale. We arm ourselves with knowledge knowing projects don't get easier, conflicts rarely resolve themselves and executing the mobile justice campaign will require a firmly rooted sense of community and purpose.
If you have insights, recommendations or resources you'd suggest surrounding media or mobile justice, let us know. We look forward to creating and sharing with you.