October 10, 2023
BLACK PUBLIC MEDIA
By Leslie Fields-Cruz
In Perilous Times, Diverse Storytellers Matter
We’re living in perilous times. There is ongoing social unrest and political chaos in the U.S.A. Gangs are running amok in Haiti. The bloodletting in Sudan and Ukraine is relentless. Climate change is wreaking havoc across the globe. Authoritarianism is on the rise. And now there’s a war in Israel.
For every one of these crises, there are countless stories waiting to be told. Unfortunately, the overwhelming majority of nonfiction storytellers in the U.S. continues to be White and male. Which, as history has shown, means we’re not always getting the full story.
Black Public Media and its funders and partner organizations — Vision Maker Media, Latinos in Public Broadcasting, Pacific Islanders in Communications, Center for Asian American Media, Firelight Media, and New York Women in Film and Television — are working with our public media allies to revitalize and diversify our industry’s labor force.
A sampling of BPM filmmakers: (col. 1) Byron Hurt, Chelsea A. Moore, Luchina Fisher; (col. 2) Dominick Rabrun, Laura Colleouri, Dru Holley; (col 3) Hazel Gurland-Pooler, David Heredia, and Shan Shan Tam. (photos courtesy of the filmmakers)
We know that for our democracy to function properly, our citizens need access to media stories that reflect the world as it really is: diverse, complex and continuously evolving.
If you agree, let your local station managers and elected officials know. And don’t forget to add the organizations I’ve named in this post to your annual giving plans. Honestly, the fact that you give at all is sometimes more important than the amount you give. That’s because your gifts let our industry know that the work we’re doing matters. This is especially true in perilous times, when history is made and documented. Ultimately, the work of our media labor force will influence how current and future generations behave, legislate, lead, and remember. They all deserve better than what our industry currently provides.
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BPM is supported by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting with further funding from the MacArthur Foundation and the New York State Council on the Arts. BPM is the only nonprofit that offers training, funding and distribution for projects solely about the Black experience. We welcome foundations, corporations and individuals to help with our work. For more information about underwriting and contributions, contact Alisa Norris (firstname.lastname@example.org).