Read our Q&A with New York Region MAG-Net Co-Anchor, Global Action Project
1) Please tell us about your work – mission and vision of your organization?
Global Action Project was founded in 1991. Our mission is to work with young people most affected by injustice to build the knowledge, tools, and relationships needed to create media for community power, cultural expression, and political change. Our work lives in the intersections of media production, youth leadership development and political education.
2) How has media justice and representation issues impacted the youth you work with?
The NYC communities that our young people are from: LGBTQ, immigrant, low-income and working class, and communities of color are very impacted by media representation! The young people and their families and communities are often portrayed in a negative way if at all. In addition, increasing media conglomeration has meant that there is less ownership of media outlets by people of color and women and the images we see reflect that reality. Dominant media is able to perpetuate and normalize negative and stereotypical images of oppressed groups which is deeply connected to the treatment of these groups and policies enacted that directly impact their ability to make decisions over their lives.
3) How is youth-driven media creation on social and racial justice issues connected to larger movement building and social justice issues?
Young people are historically important players in the building of social justice movements. At GAP, we believe that responding to media is important but not enough for communities to have self-determination. Young people and their communities must have access to and understanding of the process of media analysis and production in order to be able to harness that power for collective liberation.
4) Can you talk about your recent Media In Action Curriculum and the survey you put out. When can we expect the update curriculum?
Through our Media in Action Institutes, we have been holding national trainings for youth organizers and their organizations on using media analysis and production in their organizing work since 2008. This past year, GAP partnered with Data Center, a research justice organization, to develop and implement a national field scan on the use of media by youth organizers through on-line survey and focus groups. We have completed the analysis of the data and will be releasing the report with recommendations in a few months. We are also in the process of surveying folks who have downloaded and used our GAP curriculum. We benefited from a residency at the amazing Blue Mountain Center where we worked on updating and fine-tuning our curriculum. We look forward to sharing our learning. Stay tuned!
5) Can you tell us about the new co-leadership model at GAP? Who is the new co-ED? Tell us more about him.
We are excited to announce our new co-director Jesse Ehrensaft-Hawley! Jesse comes to us with extensive experience in youth development, youth organizing and the arts. To welcome the new co-directorship leadership model and to say farewell to the amazing Meghan McDermott, who was GAP’s executive director for over 10 years, we are having a party and fundraiser on Wednesday November 20. You can find information and purchase tickets or sponsor a youth to attend at: global-action.org/hellogoodbye.
6) How could a national network like the Media Action Grassroots Network (MAG-Net) that you are an anchor of continue to support your great work and work in NYC?
MAG-Net has been a great way for us to connect with other groups committed to media justice and movement building and for us to keep abreast of national struggles that directly impact our young people and their communities!