Accessibility virtually requires us to consider multiple and often intersecting axes.Over the last 4+ years, the Alliance Youth Media Network has been bringing youth media artists (10-26) and youth media practitioners (all ages) together online to share + learn + create. 

We made a commitment when we relaunched to actively reach out to and engage folx in rural parts of the United States. We started with our friends at Appalachian Media Institute in Whitesburg, Kentucky, and we’ve grown to include members in rural North Carolina + South Carolina (and other parts, too). Through creating with them, we learned that our technological infrastructure across the United States is unreliable and inconsistent. What that taught us is that we must (and always) meet our members where they are at + build engagement around their access (not what we suppose their access to be). 

Since our relaunch in 2016, we’ve also intentionally engaged folx working with indigenous youth, system-involved youth, homeless youth, economically + racially marginalized youth, immigrant youth, displaced youth, and disabled youth. And this has only increased our dedication to designing all our offerings with + for those we seek to engage.   

For the 2020 Youth Media Virtual Summit, we are making some deeper + more clearly articulated commitments to accessibility. They are grounded in our 4+ years of learnings. They are also inspired by a recent episode of the Irresistible podcast titled, “Organizing in a Pandemic: Disability Justice”. (Please go take a listen; there is a lot of wisdom from disabled folx freely shared.) 

Here are Our Commitments to Accessibility for our 2020 Youth Media Virtual Summit:

  • We commit to starting each event with an acknowledgement of both indigenous lands  + peoples and displaced + dispossessed peoples as a means to model how we honor the lives, cultures, and lands upon which our world is created. 
  • We commit to both opening and closing in circle allowing all to call themselves into our collective space + time through whatever means / medium best expresses their current access + reality. 
  • We commit to adapting our formats + engagement strategies to the access needs of all panelists on our Video Roundtables, facilitators + participants of our Youth Artists Exchanges, and producers + youth media artists + audience for our Film Events. 
  • We commit to embracing the mess + failure + complexity of technology + communication + life during our events and commit to being present with all of it rather than jumping right in to solve it.   

We commit to asking questions of our selves + our members + our audience that open dialogue around ensuring accessibility along axes + intersections of disability, race, age, gender, sexual orientation, displacement, class, and values. 

  • We commit to posting all video recordings of Virtual Summit events on YouTube for an initial round of Closed Captioning, and we also commit to posting edited Closed Captioning for all recordings by the end of 2020. 
  • We commit to identifying + naming what we can and cannot provide given current capacities + realities.
  • We commit to continue learning how we can be more accessible.