By Chad Johnston of The People's Channel

The only other time I’ve been to the Allied Media Conference was back in 1999 or 2000 and it was a much different event.  The last few years I have been dying to go back, but it was always on the same weekend as Antioch College reunion.  If you know anything about Antioch, many of us alums have been fighting to keep open this historically social change oriented school over the last several years.  This year however, Allied fell on a different weekend and thankfully MAG-Net helped me get up there as part of their delegation.

My first reaction as I walked into the main building where registration happened was “oh…awesome, I know these people, they make me feel like I’m at home.”  Often times, as an Executive Director of a Community Media Center and Public Access TV station, I end up at conferences where I feel like I’m one of the lonely activists, one of the few people that see our work as a social justice issue.  I cannot describe just how that simple feeling, that feeling of  being surrounded by people who you feel like you’ve known before you’ve even spoken with them, put me right at ease.

There were a million sessions I could have gone to, dance, art, DJ’s and like any other conference, you just have to make decisions and go with your gut.  But of course, I’m a glutton for punishment and a wanna-be policy wonk, so I chose almost all of the policy and justice tracks.  I have been inspired by the work MAG-Net is doing and I am constantly trying to figure out how to bring their campaigns back home to our community.  Since coming back to the access world 7 years ago, I couldn’t figure out why we weren’t talked about in either the social justice world or the media reform movement.  It seems so very logical to me, but as it turns out, it wasn’t to others.

Over the years, I feel like I’ve been apart of a younger crowd coming up through access who have been running around trying to bridge these gaps.  Allied, with our amazing delegation and the amazing people who organized and came through Detroit, inspired me to keep on pushing this agenda and attempting to build bridges between these important justice issues and the right for communities to have access to open platforms for communication, like public access TV.  Thank you MAG-Net for always being inspiring and awesome!


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