From the Executive Director
The brutal stories of the murders of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling by police have gutted the community in recent days. Violence and death in Dallas last night disrupted peaceful protests across the country. Jesse Williams’ powerful words keep playing in my head, “freedom is conditional…the burden of the brutalized is not to comfort the bystander…if you have a critique for the resistance, you better have an established record of a critique of our oppression…”
This was the backdrop for the ALLIANCE 2016 Conference that happened in Oakland June 9 – 12. If you were there, you know. If you were not there, I won’t bore you with a list of quotes from emails I felt so blessed to receive—but I like to think that the gathering provided a space for our stories, our art and our lives to embolden our collective resolve. This one sums it up better than I ever could:
“Amidst so much hate and division in the world, you all brought together the ingredients for the needed way forward. So many ideas, perspectives, tactics, strategies, brilliance, passion, experience…all in one place. Seriously…the most wonderfully diverse conference I’ve ever been part of.“
We were stoked from an opening night event that started with Oakland street dancers on the bricks outside the Impact Hub and a First Nations drum circle on the stage, continued with a reel of clips by local filmmakers working in communities around the world, and ended with a posse of young women busting out hiphop moves from their Emmy-nominated video and challenging us all to keep telling the stories that need to be told. The conference ran the next two and a half days and featured Mainstage presentations by media, arts & culture leaders along with virtual reality demos in the Innovation Studio, interactive photography installations, panels, breakout conversations, pitch sessions, offsite events, poolside meetings, dance breaks, and funder roundtables.
“Amidst so much hate and division in the world, you all brought together the ingredients for the needed way forward. So many ideas, perspectives, tactics, strategies, brilliance, passion, experience…all in one place. Seriously…the most wonderfully diverse conference I’ve ever been part of.” – ALLIANCE 2016 attendee
We ended with a half-day of programming on Sunday, June 12, the very same morning we all woke up to the news of the terror in Orlando. The murders of 49 of our gay brothers and sisters, the wounding of 53 more. Being together with our tribe at that moment, and listening to the voices of our young leaders, was something I will never forget. These are challenging times. Together is the only way through.
As of today, we are beginning to share videos from the conference presentations and Mainstage panels, so y’all who could not make it to ALLIANCE 2016 will put it in your budgets for 2018! Right now, you can see the talks from Tabitha Jackson, Michael Premo, and Joaquin Alvarado in the NAMAC Screening Room, along with a clip reel of fantastic documentaries that we showed at the Opening Celebration, thanks to our member organization POV. Definitely worth a look.
If you were at the conference, we want to know your thoughts about this year’s program and your ideas for 2018. Short survey is here.
I’m off to Sundance for the NAMAC Creative Leadership Lab from July 11 – 14. Stay tuned for news from this incredible cohort of visionary artists and leaders. Join us on the journey. Your voice is needed.
Stay strong, stay safe, and as always, reach out anytime, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Member News and Notes
Global Witness Documents 2015 Killings of Land Defenders
“On Dangerous Ground,” a new report released last month by renewing member Global Witness, sheds light on the 185 killings of land and environmental activists during 2015—the highest annual death toll on record for land defenders—across 16 countries including Brazil, the Philippines, Colombia, Peru, Nicaragua, and Democratic Republic of Congo, driven mostly by mining, agribusiness, logging, and hydropower corporations.
POV, NYT Launch ‘Embedded Mediamaker’ Project on Race
Last month, renewing member POV and The New York Times announced a new, MacArthur Foundation-funded “embedded mediamaker” project intended to expand the digital storytelling and engagement capacity of The Times‘ Race/Related reporting project exploring race. Applications for the mediamaker position are open until Monday, July 25th—read more on our Job Bank.
Is there something you’d like to publicize via NAMAC’s eBulletin? Fill out our eBulletin submission form.
Media Policy Watch
By Rose Kaplan
Last month, a federal appeals court fully upheld the FCC’s Open Internet Order from 2015, which reclassified broadband internet providers as common carriers under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934—preventing ISPs from “[making] any unjust or unreasonable discrimination in charges, practices, classifications, regulations, facilities, or services,” as the 1934 text reads.
While some recent developments seem to have chipped away at this requirement—Netflix’s deal with Comcast for faster service, or T-Mobile’s Binge On program, both examples of paid prioritization, come to mind—Title II remains the centerpiece of the FCC’s current regulatory schemes for broadband providers, and naturally, ISPs aren’t happy with the latest court decision: “We have always expected this issue to be decided by the Supreme Court, and we look forward to participating in that appeal,” said AT&T General Counsel David McAtee.
As Free Press‘s Amy Kroin writes this week, members of congress have also continued to fight the FCC in spite of the appeals court’s decision, slipping attacks on Net Neutrality into larger funding packages—a tactic typically used when there aren’t enough votes to pass a measure on its own.
The Supreme Court’s decision in Utah vs. Strieff last month—upholding police officers’ right to stop and search anyone on the street without reasonable suspicion, as long as that person is discovered to have an outstanding arrest warrant—continues to be a topic of conversation, with debates raging over its Fourth Amendment and privacy implications. The Electronic Frontier Foundation‘s Jennifer Lynch and Adam Schwartz explore these issues in the context of developments in media and technology around policing:
“The Strieff decision suggests that police use of these surveillance technologies will only increase as one of the few legal mechanisms preventing unlawful police stops—the rule excluding evidence discovered during or after the illegal stop—doesn’t apply if the police later discover your name in a massive database of outstanding arrest warrants.”
Finally, July marks the 50th anniversary of the Freedom of Information Act, which has enabled generations of journalists, filmmakers, and artists to explore countless critical national issues in their work. Perhaps in celebration, Congress recently passed reforms of the act, which EFF‘s Aaron Mackey outlines here.