September 12, 2023
BLACK PUBLIC MEDIA
By Leslie Fields-Cruz
The Time is NOW!
Next week, the United States Congressional Black Caucus will hold its annual legislative conference. The convening provides a platform for Black lawmakers, thinkers and influencers to come together and discuss the issues that matter most to Black communities. It provides attendees a unique opportunity to hear from experts in various fields, learn from successful initiatives and develop strategies to advance Black interests.
Believe it or not, I’ve never been to the CBC. Though I am a firm believer in civic participation and have encouraged my children to be active in their communities and participate in the political process, attending the conference just wasn’t on my radar. Perhaps because it’s always held in September, which — for New Yorkers like me — is back-to-school month. Or maybe it’s because the indie film community typically gathers in September at events like the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), Gotham Week or Urbanworld. Maybe it was the cost of registration and/or the travel to DC. Or perhaps I just didn’t see where my work, supporting media makers, fit into a conference I perceived as primarily focused on politics.
I can’t point to one single reason, but I do know it is never too late to get involved in worthwhile causes.
It’s About the Issues
As a recent empty-nester, this is the first time in decades that I don’t have to deal with back-to-school drama. Gotham Week is in October, and Urbanworld is no longer held in September. I haven’t been to TIFF, but that’s ok. In light of policies here at home that seek to oppress Black voices, deny women the right to “travel while pregnant,” and ignore some humans’ right to define their own gender, attending a festival in Canada isn’t a high priority. Now, feels like the right time for me to attend the CBC.
The theme for this year’s conference is Securing Our Democracy. Protecting Our Freedoms. Uplifting Our Culture. I look forward to attending and meeting people from various backgrounds, experiences and perspectives, and participating in lively, fruitful discussions that may provide deeper insights for the work we do at Black Public Media.
Those of you who will be in D.C., are invited to drop by our Friday evening mixer at WHUT. The Fri., Sept. 22 event offers an opportunity to meet our board members, executive staff, some of our media makers, and our public media allies. Go here to reserve your spot. We’d love for you to join us.
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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).