On October 21-22 I had the pleasure of attending the Media Freedom Summit held at Sonoma State University in celebration of the 40th anniversary of Project Censored. In addition to co-leading a workshop on "People's Videography and Citizen Journalism," at which I spoke on behalf of Weave News about our Big Questions and Holot: Crossroads of Global Violence projects, I was fortunate to be able to conduct Big Questions interviews with three inspiring activists: Deseriee McSwain, Ana Rivera, and Nadya Tannous.
The conference featured presentations by a range of independent/alternative media figures ranging from journalist Abby Martin (presenter of The Empire Files on TeleSUR English) and MintPress News founder Mnar Muhawesh to scholars and activists associated with Project Censored, the newly-launched Global Critical Media Literacy Project, and the Action Coalition for Media Education. One of the highlights of the conference for me, as a teacher, was the presence of an impressive cadre of young activists, many of whom are current or former students at some of the dozens of colleges and universities in the Bay Area. These young people spoke passionately about the role that media literacy, media production, and media analysis play in their work on a range of social justice issues such as police violence, LGBTQ liberation, and struggles for decolonization. Hearing their stories helped keep my hoping machine running in the midst of a political moment when it's easy to become demoralized.
All of the videos from my interviews with McSwain, Rivera, and Tannous can be found on our Weave News YouTube channel. Here is a sampling of the fascinating perspectives these activists offered in response to our Big Questions.