Reflection on Community and Media Workshop Representations: Why Our Stories Matter

Hello everyone, my name is Chloe Villalobos and I am this summer’s intern for PARCEO. I learned about the center through a close friend and was immediately interested in becoming part of such a community-oriented organization. At 22, I’m a recent college graduate in international and intercultural studies, hoping to work in popular education as a teacher. I hope to learn from PARCEO’s work with communities through a PAR and popular education approach and be able to use what I learn in my communities as well.

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Last week PARCEO hosted a hands-on training that explored the differences between telling your own community’s story as opposed to outside media’s portrayal of communities. Members from different social justice organizations came together to analyze the ways in which outside media portrays our communities and to brainstorm strategies of reclaiming those stories.

We reflected on what stories we want to tell about our communities and how to use these stories to create positive changes. Media gives us multidimensional ways to tell stories, and members involved in organizing their communities can use the media as a powerful mobilizing tool. We all agreed that it is crucial to think about who is writing the stories, and that marginalized voices should be brought to the center of storytelling. It also really pushed me to think about ways in which educators can use media to elevate the stories of their students, and in general how communities can tell their stories as a tool for social change.

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We closed the workshop with an activity that allowed us to identify the story we want to tell. Groups created either a poster, video, or article outlining what story they wanted to tell about their community, the specific changes they wanted to see, and what resources were needed to address these issues. By thinking about how to move forward in making changes in our communities, the workshop allowed for a space to confront important and concrete questions.

 

PARCEO’s Community and Media workshop covers issues about representation that are necessary for anyone involved in community organizing, or anyone who feels outside media does not adequately represent their communities. The workshop, in focusing on the importance of reclaiming our own stories, serves as a helpful tool for community members to think about and plan around using media as a tool to tell their own stories and create significant change.