2022 Program Topic:
Writing and Journalism on Race
Friday November 18
When Prism was established, it was because we knew that the status quo media landscape wasn’t reflecting enough of the truth — and it wasn’t bringing us closer to our vision of collective liberation and justice.
Prism is a community of journalists and justice seekers committed to delivering detailed and thought-provoking news and analysis at the intersections of multiple issue areas. We help people to understand the issues that matter most to them, digging deep into both systemic problems and solutions to empower readers with information that pushes the conversation on justice forward, and moves people to action.
For Facing Race 2022, in contribution to the goal of creating and building the society we want and deserve, our focus for this session is: How asset-based and participatory storytelling can advance social justice. The Prism team will host a panel discussion on what we’ve learned on applying a social justice approach to communications.
Our panel will engage with attendees on the context and history of worker’s rights news coverage, solutions, and lessons learned toward creating a participatory journalism model, and host a real-time workshopping session.
Prism’s goal for this panel is to welcome folks into a collaborative conversation on what it means to center lived experiences, how advocates and allies amplify solutions, and why this approach to storytelling is integral to racial justice.
Saturday November 19
From redlining to urban renewal to highway construction, which segregated and displaced communities of color, we know racism is baked into the places we live. This shows up as race- and place-based disparities in our built and natural environments. With deep knowledge and practice, urban planner and DEI consultant Ebony Walden will team up with activist and urban agriculture expert Duron Chavis to share their recent projects that highlight place-based narrative change, thought leadership, and solutions focused on dismantling racism and reimagining their city, Richmond, Virginia. Duron will discuss his recent video series, Black Space Matters, where he highlights the voices of Black leaders and their work for community change as well as display his work on urban greening projects and the development of the Bensley agri-hood – a planned community that builds affordable housing around urban agriculture for and lead by POC. Ebony will highlight the narrative change and thought leadership project, Richmond Racial Equity Essays (RREE), which is a multimedia project (essay ebook, 8 episode podcast, and 7 episode video interview series) she co-curated with Duron, focused on highlighting practical ways to advance racial equity in Richmond and other US cities. Ebony and Duron will share clips, solutions, and lessons learned from their work and engage participants in a conversation about how these issues show up and these solutions can take root in the places they live.
In October 2021, the American Medical Association (AMA) and the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) Center for Health Justice published Advancing Health Equity: A Guide to Language, Narrative and Concepts. Designed for physicians and other healthcare professionals, the guide aims to promote an understanding of equity-focused, person-first language and why it matters, while at the same time opening discussion about dominant narratives in medicine (particularly narratives around race, gender, meritocracy, and individualism).
In this interactive session, we explore the need for this guide and through an interactive writing exercise, develop ways of confronting and overcoming resistance to narrative change. The guide has generated a great deal of discussion in medicine, with some praising it as a vitally needed component of health equity work, and others rejecting it as an act of language policing.
Our workshop is designed around a simple but powerful strategy to support participants in building narrative power. In facilitated small groups, participants will develop a short piece of text – something that could be developed into a letter to their physician or local community hospital (calling for or supporting their efforts regarding language and narrative), or could take the form of a start of an op ed or newspaper story. These pieces would take an element from the guide (e.g., critique of the notion of “vulnerability”) and apply / extend that work to a local context. These pieces of writing, in turn, could then be featured in updated AMA / AAMC Center for Health Justice materials.