Cultural workers, youth media organizations, filmmakers, public media advocates and organizers have all put in so much work for us to reach this golden age of QT-BIPOC film production, where access and representation are central tenets of equity in entertainment.
Even as we celebrate, many of us hear the cautionary voices of our political elders telling us, “we have been here before!” And still many others hear, “there are still so many other ways and so much more we can attain!”
These case studies provide but a fractal of the path that lies beyond access and representation; they point to radical institutional and systemic transformation, not just surface level change. To ensure our stories are as powerful as our vision for liberation, we must also center conversations around ownership, power, class, and the right to creative experimentation.
Beyond Access & Representation showcases case studies that stretch all aspects of the production process to go beyond access and representation in dominant media and create our own pathways and platforms.
Popular education is transformational.
Popular education is more critical than ever in our current political moment. Our Black, Indigenous, Brown, immigrant, LGBTQ+, low-income, and working class communities face significant changes in their material conditions as a result of the Covid crisis. Without a process to critically reflect on these experiences, many community members will only engage to meet their most immediate needs; our ability to stake out a visionary claim on the future and to build lasting relationships to achieve it will be lost. Popular education offers a way to build this type of long-term vision into our organizing work, even in the midst of a crisis.
Popular education is foundational to move issue-based organizing to long-term movement building. It lies at the roots of values and visions that challenge the status quo of capitalism, racism, supremacy, and misogyny over peoples, other-than-humans, and the earth. It sparked radical cultural and political change led by peoples in the southern hemisphere. In the US, it is rooted in the Black Southern Organizing Tradition and other movements for change (i.e. the Farmworkers’ Movement) that have shifted our understanding of what is possible.
Too often, organizers confuse popular education with political education or art activism. "Top down" political education by organizers can be just as dehumanizing and oppressive as the lessons taught by our dominant institutions. Understanding the liberatory aspects of popular education practice is a necessary part of the organizers' toolkit. Organizers need to know how to:
Transforming Vision, Power, and Leadership: