The Power of Independent Media – Generation Justice

The Power of Independent Media – Generation Justice

Some of the earliest memories I have include watching westerns with my family. I remember my grandmother, after a long day of work, relaxing with John Wayne. It wasn’t until I attended college at the Institute of American Indian Arts when I realized those characters I grew up with were inaccurate portrayals of Indigenous people. I learned that history lessons in school left out important perspectives from the people just like me. I got so frustrated with confusion that I had to reteach myself things I never knew before to help me feel better.

Through this experience, it reinforced my desire to become an Indigenous storyteller. I dedicated myself to honoring and respecting all the communities I represent through the multimedia I create. I’m grateful I have continued on this path here at Generation Justice. Here, fellows are fortunate to learn from accurate and respectful independent media.

Recently, I had the opportunity to meet Jeff Cohen–a media critic, lecturer and founding director of the Park Center for Independent Media. A lot of his media work parallels much of our own.

I am grateful that he shared stories about his experiences working for corporate media outlets like CNN, Fox and MSNBC. This gave me insight into the limitations of corporate media. In a society that claims to value free speech, corporate media outlets use their power to censor what gets represented.

In contrast to this model, Jeff taught me about the importance of independent media and why we must always fight for racial equity within a whitewashed media industry. Jeff reminded me why I have dedicated my life to storytelling.

Jeff also taught me that we must continue to represent ourselves. As an Indigenous woman, I have been misrepresented for time immemorial. John Wayne was just one in a long history of examples. When we begin to tell our own stories, we can educate others on our beliefs and ways of life.

When we have the opportunity to share our lives, in our own ways, we create a movement towards a fair and accurate media. This is what we do at Generation Justice. This is what I am committed to, like Jeff Cohen. 

[:es]By Tamara Colaque 

Some of the earliest memories I have include watching westerns with my family. I remember my grandmother, after a long day of work, relaxing with John Wayne. It wasn’t until I attended college at the Institute of American Indian Arts when I realized those characters I grew up with were inaccurate portrayals of Indigenous people. I learned that history lessons in school left out important perspectives from the people just like me. I got so frustrated with confusion that I had to reteach myself things I never knew before to help me feel better.

Through this experience, it reinforced my desire to become an Indigenous storyteller. I dedicated myself to honoring and respecting all the communities I represent through the multimedia I create. I’m grateful I have continued on this path here at Generation Justice. Here, fellows are fortunate to learn from accurate and respectful independent media.

Recently, I had the opportunity to meet Jeff Cohen–a media critic, lecturer and founding director of the Park Center for Independent Media. A lot of his media work parallels much of our own.

I am grateful that he shared stories about his experiences working for corporate media outlets like CNN, Fox and MSNBC. This gave me insight into the limitations of corporate media. In a society that claims to value free speech, corporate media outlets use their power to censor what gets represented.

In contrast to this model, Jeff taught me about the importance of independent media and why we must always fight for racial equity within a whitewashed media industry. Jeff reminded me why I have dedicated my life to storytelling.

Jeff also taught me that we must continue to represent ourselves. As an Indigenous woman, I have been misrepresented for time immemorial. John Wayne was just one in a long history of examples. When we begin to tell our own stories, we can educate others on our beliefs and ways of life.

When we have the opportunity to share our lives, in our own ways, we create a movement towards a fair and accurate media. This is what we do at Generation Justice. This is what I am committed to, like Jeff Cohen.