As both a journalist and a media activist, I was excited to attend my first Allied Media Conference (AMC) that took place over the summer. A progressive media activist’s mecca, the AMC brings together artists, technologists and activists in order to synergistically explore how to incite social change through current and emerging media. Now in its 17th iteration, this year’s AMC, themed #waginglove, drew over 2,500 participants.
One notable highlight included the network gathering called “Igniting a Model Minority Mutiny” that encouraged Asian and Asian American activists to authentically confront and explore the different manifestations of internalized racism and color-blindness within our communities that create obstacles in the path toward working in solidarity with the #BlackLivesMatter movement. Unfortunately, the heartbreaking news about the attack on the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston reached us during the network gathering, and we immediately worked to release a statement.
Sabiha Basrai, a member of the Alliance of South Asians Taking Action (ASATA) who presented a session at the AMC this year, said that she “greatly appreciated the opportunity to hear stories and compare notes with Asian racial justice activists from around the country.” In addition to learning about new approaches to “confronting anti-black racism in our own families and communities,” Basrai also enjoyed the opportunities participants were given to share their “unique experiences” based on their city of origin’s varying political climates.
AACRE was well represented at this forum. Sammie Ablaza Wills from API Equality – Northern California, had this to say: “The Model Minority Mutiny gathering was an extremely valuable space to build, process and have tough conversations on fighting anti-blackness in Asian American communities. The convening was packed with deep, personal reflection about how our experiences have shaped the way that we organize within our communities. With so many people from around the nation in attendance, I appreciated learning from the range of stories and strategies being shared and discovered.”
This year’s AMC proved to be its biggest and most ambitious ever. With over three hundred participant-led and collaborative events, including workshops, panel discussions and training sessions, the conference definitely lived up to its commitment to be an invaluable space for social justice advocates to keep up with emerging online technologies despite the constant challenge of limited resources. For more information, read the AMC’s recently published reflections and analyses. Here’s to more!