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Isabella Zizi: Indigenous Environmental Justice
Jul06

Isabella Zizi: Indigenous Environmental Justice

Earlier this year, I received multiple emails from some colleagues to apply for Making Contact’s Spring Community Storytelling Fellowship. I was very intrigued by the title of the fellowship: Indigenous Solutions and Climate Crisis. I finally said to myself “Let’s take a look at what this is all about.” At first I was hesitant to apply because I didn’t consider myself a storyteller. I felt that I didn’t have the background skills or wasn’t educated about radio and audio recordings. When I continued to read the overview, the application read “Applicants are Indigenous activists in Bay Area Indigenous-led movements that address the climate crisis and lead around a vision of respect for the earth and its peoples.” I thought, that’s me! Within one week after applying, I received an email to participate in the first round of interviews. Applicants had to pitch a story. Since I live in Richmond, CA I wanted to bring up the August 6th 2012 Chevron refinery explosion and share a personal story about my experience that day. I also wanted to incorporate my inspiration in joining Idle No More SF Bay early 2014 to help organize Indigenous led refinery healing walks. Meanwhile, as I waited to hear about my application I was in the final 2 weeks of helping to plan the April 2017 Refinery Healing walk. It was the first of our set of four this summer, and this year is the last of the four years Idle No More SF Bay has committed to organizing them.   On the afternoon before the April walk –from Pittsburg refineries (Koch Cardon) to Martinez refineries (Tesoro and Shell) and our neighborhoods between them — I received a phone call from Making Contact’s Executive Director Lisa Rudman. She applauded my work and announced that I was selected to be the 2017 Native-American/Indigenous fellow for the Community Storytelling Fellowship. I was absolutely in shock and so excited to get this opportunity.   Over the next weeks, Laura Flynn (one of Making Contact’s producers) and I started right away on the first draft of my story outline. I wanted to create a transitional story that captured the hardship of living in a refinery town and highlight the positive shift of what the refinery healing walks has done for community members like myself  in the East Bay. At first, the process of being the fellow was a bit intimidating and overwhelming. I had to work around my work schedule, refinery healing walk organizing meetings, and monthly new moon ceremonies that I help coordinate with other women who signed on to the Indigenous Women of the Americas Defending Mother Earth treaty....

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Conscience and Dissent: Values in Media
Mar29

Conscience and Dissent: Values in Media

  Independent journalism offers incisive analysis and perspectives typically passed over by the corporate-owned media. The phrase “Speaking truth to power” is a central tenet to independent journalism and community produced media. A network of those media outlets gathered at The Media Consortium conference in Washington DC to discuss the role independent media plays in today’s contentious media landscape. Special thanks to the panelists, The Media Consortium, Jo Ellen Kaiser, Manolia Charlotin, and Paul Stewart. Like this program? Please show us the love. Click here and support our non-profit journalism. Thanks! Featuring: Ricardo Sandoval Palos, Managing Editor of 100 Reporters Dr. Amara Enyia, 2016-2018 Global Leadership Fellow with the Global Strategists Association Joseph Torres, Senior External Affairs Director for Free Press Michelle Garcia, Journalist other panelists at this session, not appearing in this radio edition included Sarah van Gelder, co-founder and editor at large of YES!, Katrina vanden Heuvel, Editor and Publisher of The Nation, and Maya Schenwar,Truthout‘s editor-in-chief Credits: Host: R.J. Lozada Producers: Anita Johnson, Marie Choi, Monica Lopez, R.J. Lozada, Andrew Stelzer Executive Director: Lisa Rudman Audience Engagement Director/Web Editor: Sabine Blaizin Development Associate: Vera Tykulsker Music: Ketsa, “Roll On” John Luc Hefferman, “Triumph” More Information: The Media Consortium Journalism That Matters TMC Conference 2017 Plenary 100 Reporters The Media Consortium Conference 2017  ...

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Nov27

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Immigrants & Elections Pt. 2: Barriers to the Ballot
Oct26

Immigrants & Elections Pt. 2: Barriers to the Ballot

Photo of Florita & Joseph Campbell at the Halo Halo Restaurant in Phoenix, AZ by contributing producer Valeria Fernández In the US, the right to vote is one of the country’s most cherished and hard-fought rights. But it doesn’t mean that everyone has equal access to the polls. In 2013 the Supreme Court struck down a key civil rights provision of the Voting Rights Act. This November will be the first presidential election in 50 years where voters will not have the full protection of the original law. In this second installment of Making Contact’s Immigrants and Elections series, we explore some of the barriers immigrants and other historically disenfranchised voters face in gaining access to the polls. Listen to our other episodes in our Immigrants and Elections series here. * Reporter Valeria Fernandez’s story was made possible with support from Making Contact and New America Media’s fellowship on voting rights. Part 2 Features: Nse Ufot, Executive Director of New Georgia Project Maria Rodriguez, Executive Director of Florida Immigrant Coalition Marco Ponce, active supporter of Proposition N Sandra Lee Fewer, San Francisco Unified School District Commissioner Matt Haney, President of the Board of Education of San Francisco Eric Mar, San Francisco County Supervisor Araceli Becerra, recently naturalized US citizen Leonardo Aromin, founder of the Filipino American Journal Samantha Pstross, Executive Director of Arizona Advocacy Network Vic Reid, civic engagement manager for Asian Pacific Community in Action.Host: Credits Host this week: Monica Lopez Contributing Producers: Valeria Fernández and Paulina Velasco Special thanks: Oyez Project for providing free online access to US Supreme Court audio recordings, Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library for access to their archives, and The Media Consortium for audio from their states’ briefing with Audio Recordist, Carson Riedel, The People’s Channel. Image Credits: “Florita & Joseph Campbell at the Halo Halo Restaurant in Phoenix, AZ” – Valeria Fernandez Music Credits: “Lifetrap”, Year of Glad; “Dents de fer”, FLIST!; “Motion”, Noah; “Surreal”, Ouri; “Future Life”, Ketsa YOUR SUPPORT MADE A DIFFERENCE:  Special thanks to all the individuals who contributed to our Beacon Crowdfunding campaign for our Immigrants and Elections miniseries. Thanks also to the Berwick-Degel Family foundation. More information The Oyez Project A Closer Look at Voter ID laws Across the US Jurisdictions Previously Covered by Section 5 The New Georgia Project Florida Immigrant Coalition Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library Feet in 2 Worlds As Trump Conjures the Voter Fraud Boogeyman, Voter Suppression is the Real Issue Asian American Voters Not Being Engaged in Ca.’s Ballot Initiative...

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New Rates! Call for Pitches July 2016

Do you have a story with perspectives on an ongoing local, national, or global issue? Do you have access to voices and perspectives that get lost in mainstream media landscape? Do they have ideas about how to cope, and how to change things? If so, consider pitching to Making Contact!  We’re looking for pitches from freelancers on several themes. NewsFlash #1 We’ve increased our freelance rates! See below. NewsFlash #2  With software from Hearken, our Ever Wonder? widgets ask listeners to suggest questions for reporters to ask. Come experiment with getting these crowd-questions. If your story would benefit from seeking audience input upstream, tell us about that. Seeking Pitches Immigration and Elections: We want your pitches! We’re looking for character-driven stories that focus on how immigrant communities engage in U.S. electoral politics. Here are some themes we’re interested in exploring: How are undocumented communities working around elections to mitigate the U.S. Supreme Court decision halting the expansion of DACA and DAPA? What factors contribute to disparities in electoral participation within different communities? How are immigrant communities addressing mis-information about how to vote, new voter ID laws, and other barriers to participating in elections? Are immigrant communities organizing to put politicians in office?  What are the opportunities and challenges? How are communities organizing outside of the electoral process to influence politics locally and/or nationally? How are groups working against Trump and Trumpism beyond the conventions? How is campaign financing influencing immigration rhetoric and policies? Got an idea, let us know!  Open to all and we are especially  looking for reporters who are themselves immigrants for our Immigrants and Elections miniseries. Guns: We’re looking for stories that bring new perspectives on guns, gun violence, mass shootings, and masculinity. These could be personal stories. They could also be more investigative or explanatory pieces. We’d also welcome other pitches related to guns, maybe a look at one of several states’ legislation to allow or ban concealed carry on college campuses. Occupy, 5 Year Anniversary: For this show, we’re looking for a story about a small town in the U.S. that responded to the call to Occupy a public space as part of Occupy Wall Street. We want to know why they decided to participate 5 years ago. What difference did it make? And what lessons did they carry into their organizing today? People in Prison and Sentencing: We’re looking for stories detailing the effects of the prison systems on children and families, delving into life after incarceration, and stories examining sentence reduction reforms at the state level. For instance in California, Prop 47 passed in Fall 2014. It reduces drug possession and five...

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Diversifying Radio with Disabled Voices
Apr04

Diversifying Radio with Disabled Voices

  Radio can be a familiar friend, source of knowledge, a marker of time and place. But as a cultural institution, what constitutes a “good voice” in radio reflects and transmits cultural norms and structures. When I started my Community Storytelling Radio Fellowship at Making Contact, I prepared by reading articles from Transom and AIR media about interviewing, storytelling, and production. I felt more intimidated as I read about advice on ‘how to do radio,’ especially since some parts were very physical (e.g., holding a microphone close to a person for a significant length of time). I wondered, “Where do disabled people like me fit in the radio community? Why don’t articles about diversity in radio ever mention people with disabilities?” Al Letson’s 2015 Transom manifesto explores the the default straight white male voice. It resonated with me immediately and I’d also add that the “default human being” on radio is able-bodied as well. Good Voices/Bad Voices By centering the default “good voice” of radio as one that is able-bodied, one that is pleasant, clear, articulate and devoid of any markers of disability, you erase disabled people, rendering them the Other (or in fancy terms the subaltern). Media and cultural studies scholar Dr. Bill Kirkpatrick wrote about the problematic nature of the invisibility of disabled voices and bodies in radio in a 2013 book chapter, “Voices Made for Print: Crip Voices”: … there is no shortage of self-evident reasons why non-disabled voices thoroughly dominate radio, not least of which is the commercial imperative: broadcasters want listeners to stay tuned, therefore they find speakers and speaking styles that audiences are willing to listen to, with voices that listeners can easily understand and find pleasing to the ear. While undoubtedly sensible as a matter of capitalist logic, however, we need to question the aesthetic reasoning at the root of this supposedly listener-centered approach to speaker selection as well as the idea that “pleasing to the ear” is somehow a sufficient explanation for the absence of disabled voices on the radio. We cannot begin to expand the range of permitted voices on radio without simultaneously undermining the ideologies of ability and disability that disqualify those voices in the first place. In the broader discussion of diversity in media, I see parts of myself included as a disabled woman of color. But more often than not disability is not included because many do not regard it as a culture. For radio, this is total bullshit. If you think about it, disabled voices are the missing instruments in this symphony that is public media. Letson stated in his Transom manifesto: Stories are told that...

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