Tennessee: Popular Education, Media Justice and Rolling HIlls
In 2002 a group of media convened, strategized and coined the term Media Justice at the Highlander Center in Central Tennessee. Since that time Media Justice has grown into a movement with historically disenfranchised communities transforming media and cultural production, rights, and policy with a focus on social justice organizing. Groups such as the Center for Media Justice and networks such as Mag-Net, the Media Action Grassroots Network, have advocated for broadband access and digital inclusion, an end to the racist hate-mongering of Lou Dobbs, and much more. Knowing the strength of this movement it was exciting for us to visit the Highlander Center where some of these initial media justice conversations had taken place. We had the chance to talk to them about the possibilities for Low Power FM in their region and with the groups they partner with in the South.
On a tour of the beautiful green Highlander grounds, we learned the long history of the center; both it's original commitment to labor justice and how after years of civil rights organizing they had their land snatched out from under them by the state of Tennessee. After many years they were able to purchase new land and focus on running a center that conducts research, develops organizing and educational strategies, collects and produces resource materials for popular educators and organizers, and sponsors popular education programs that support grassroots activists and community leaders in the South.
We also had the chance to visit the LPFM station Radio Free Nashville that was launched during a Prometheus Barnraising in 2005. Their station is located in Pasquo, Nashville and therefore doesnt reach all of Nashville but they have figured out a way to extend their signal by repeating their LPFM signal on a Digital Radio Station's Side Channel, the audio channel (SAP) of a Public Access cable channel, streaming online and also the Public Radio Tuner.