Whitesburg, Kentucky is home to Appalshop, a unique media and arts organization that has been utilizing media, radio, theater, video, and music to preserve Appalachian culture, and counter-stereotypes by telling their own stories. Appalshop strives to develop effective ways to use media to address the complex issues facing central Appalachia – a declining coal economy, a legacy of environmental damage, high unemployment rates, and poor educational opportunities and attainment.
WMMT "The Voice of the Hillbilly Nation" is a thriving Community Radio Station which plays old-time string music and other traditional Appalachian music, as well as serving as a valuable source for local information. On Monday evenings from 7-10pm, WMMT broadcasts' "Holler to the Hood"- a hip-hop show which also features recorded messages from family members to their loved ones incarcerated in one of the three maximum security prisons in the radio's coverage. Holler to the Hood is just one piece of Thousand Kites, a community-based performance, web, video and radio project centered on the United States prison system. You can learn more about the project and its history in the audio interview above.
Right outside Denver, in Aurora, Colorado lies a privately run Immigrant Detention Center. Just as the radio program, Holla to the Hood, broadcast out of WMMT in Kentucky crosses into the prison walls, people in Aurora are broadcasting into the detention center. One woman who is involved with Coloradans for Immigrant Rights, was detained there and when she got out, she started a program in which detainees can call in and provide emotional support to other people locked up.
Gallup is a border town; not only between Arizona and New Mexico but between many indigenous reservations. While Gallup is within the bounds of Dineh territory, it is the largest urban area off of the reservation in the region and continues to be an essential meeting spot.
The Colonization of the Continent is an on-going process. The Dineh people (often known as the Navajo) were originally colonized by the Spanish, when their territory was considered to be the "property" of Mexico. As the United States colonized the region, they created laws that favored the profits of coal and uranium mining companies who devastated the land, displaced tens of thousands of people, and caused cancer rates to skyrocket while simultanelously imposing assimilation through boarding schools and forced impoverishment.
Albuquerque, New Mexico is a hub of community media. In our time here we have got to meet with folks from QuoteUnquote, a community-run Public Access Television Station, youth radio- out of KUNM, and The Media Literacy Project and the Media Arts Collaborative Charter School. Youth from throughout Albuquerque are creating media, telling stories from their perspectives- and utilizing the media to discuss issues important to their communities.
In our workshops and presentations here we have focused on radio as tool for organizing and as a tool to solve problems. Participants brainstormed about using radio and community media to overcome discrimination towards Arab and Mexican people, combat drunk driving and pedestrian deaths, end dog fighting, preserve native languages and culture, stop police harassment, and more. Youth Radio in Albuquerque already focuses their radio program on social justice issues which they share through KUNM and also their blog. They are currently mobilizing and fundraising to send youth members to the Allied Media Conference.
Movie Screening & Benefit Dance Party
Thursday, April 8
413 2nd St. SW (between Lead & Coal)
6pm: "Un Poquito de Tanta Verdad" - film screening
8pm: Benefit Dance Party feat. BARACUTANGA and DJ Andalalucha
$5-10 sliding scale benefit for Palabra Radio
The Indymedia Show featuring Prometheus Radio Project & Palabra Radio
Friday, April 9
San Antonio is often known for the Alamo, the historic symbol of US conquest, and the Riverwalk, a tourist zone made for outsiders. For those of us within the Media Justice movement, we recognize San Antonio as the home base of Clear Channel- a for-profit corporation that swallowed up an uprecedented number of radio stations following the 1996 Telecommunications Act. San Antonio is also home to a creative community of artists, activists, feminists, and community organizers. Here, in the belly of the beast, there is a desperate need for local media alternatives and outlets.
After leaving Dothan, AL we drove north, visiting many places that have played important roles in the Civil Rights Movement. At the Civil Rights Memorial Center in Montgomery, Alabama we learned about the famous Bus boycotts which were sparked by Rosa Parks' refusal to give up her seat to a white passenger and about Rev. George Lee , who was killed by White Southerners on May 7, 1955 for using his pulpit and printing press to urge African Americans to vote. We also visited Dexter Avenue Baptist Church,where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. preached and organized. In Selma, AL- we crossed the Edmund Pettis Bridge, the site of Bloody Sunday and interviewed a woman who was arrested at the march. Click here to see the interview.
Jackson, Mississippi may be well know for its civil rights struggles but it is also considered by many to be the birthplace of the Media Justice movement. In Jackson in the 1950's and 1960's, the TV station WLBT refused to broadcast any news about the civil rights movement. They would pretend to have technical difficulties any time there was news that referenced racial justice and also refused to broadcast shows that featured African American actors prominently. The United Church of Christ with Everett Parker petitioned the FCC to revoke the stations license because of their racist bias and after a long court battle The FCC took their license away.
Project South is collaborating with Prometheus to introduce their southern partners to our work around "participatory COMMUNITY radio." We are coming together to talk about the power of participatory radio/communication and provide our partners with inspiration/information/insight on ways that communities across the globe have utilized the radio airwaves to build transformative changes .
In an elementary school, converted into a community center, local reggae artists broadcast live programming from WRFG: Atlanta's community radio station. WRFG 89.3 Broadcasts 24 Hours a day at 100,000 Watts. WRFG provides a voice for those who have been traditionally denied access to the broadcast media and the involvement of a broad base of community elements to guarantee that access.