Here’s your chance to get to know a little more about our staff at the Center for Media Justice – what excites us about our work? What dirty secrets are we hiding? What tips do we have for you?  Get it all here.

First up is Karlos Gauna Schmieder, Karlos has been on staff with CMJ (then known as Youth Media Council) for the last six years.  Karlos has been marching, community organizing and strategizing for social justice since he was in diapers.  Read about how he spends his days, what he learned from his mom and more.  

What is your role at Center for Media Justice?  

I’m currently the director of communications programs at CMJ. I oversee our training programs and field building activities. 

What’s your life like at CMJ?  What’s a day in the life of KGS?

“Early in the morning, rise into the street/Light me up that…and strap shoes on my feet.”  When I’m not on the phone, you can find me provoking @mexicanmitt on Twitter.  I work hard, and try to play just as hard. I love to hear live music. 

What does “media justice” look like to you?

Justice on every device, justice in our everyday lives. I really believe in our tagline at CMJ. “The power to communicate, and therefore imagine and organize for a better future, must belong to everyone.” 

What most excites you about the work you do at CMJ?

I really love working with groups to sharpen their communications strategies. The look in folks’ eyes when they get to tell their story strategically and powerfully brings me joy. 

What do you think is missing in communications for justice sectors? 

There is a lot of exciting communications work going on in communities across the country. There has been a sea change in the way organizers think about using communications to strengthen their work. I think what we need most is some shared strategy and infrastructure and the resources to communicate at the scale of our organizing. 

What’s your favorite meme or a meme that has most recently moved you?

I have to say, I loved the #MamasDay actions from Strong Families and Forward together.  (I had a really tight relationship with my Mom, and even though she won’t see it I made her one.)

What’s your top tip for how to communicate for people in justice sectors?

Culture is the meme pool to unlock the power of our communities. A famous playwright once said, “Art is not a mirror to reflect reality, but a hammer with which we shape it.”  I think we often focus on the problem, without showing folks that we have the power to shape the reality of our communities. 

And finally, what would it most surprise people to know about you (that you’re willing to share)?

Even though my mom helped to coin the phrases “Environmental Racism” and “Environmental Justice” (and re-defined the environment as where we live, work and play), I’m a closet golfer. It always surprises people – especially those that knew her  – when I come out. 


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