Good News

There are many reasons for anger and hopelessness. The struggle to dismantle systems of oppression is overwhelming. Humans can be disappointing. Horrors abound. In the face of dismay, I maintain a practice of turning my attention to inspirations, those creating a new world amidst the crushing pain of this one. Today I’ll share updates on a few of these inspirational initiatives.

jmpro tv celebration
JMPRO TV Celebration

Asheville Community Media Flourishes

The narratives we ingest shape our perspectives of ourselves and each other, impacting our lives in serious ways. The damage that has been done with biased, inaccurate narratives is pervasive. We must have liberating narratives if we are to have liberation. We need community media which centers voices that have been left out of or mis-represented in dominant narratives. Media which can counter the harm that has been done and lead us to new possibilities.

Last week the JMPRO TV team celebrated the graduation of a class of community reporters who have been training and putting their learning into action for the past six months. As I’ve written before, JMPRO is a wonderful community media channel dedicated to providing communities of color with the tools and platform to tell their stories and share useful information. You can follow Julio Jmpro on Facebook for new content, and tune into the JMPRO radio show on Tuesdays at 7 pm on Asheville FM.

wots summer 2018
Word on the Street/La Voz de los Jovenes 2018-2019 squad retreat

Also last week, JMPRO worked with the Word on the Street/La Voz de los Jovenes squad on documentary photography and videography training. WOTS/LVDLJ is an amazing online magazine created by youth of color. This week JMPRO will be teaching the squad about livestreaming, interviewing, and filmmaking.

Both the community reporters and squad members got to practice their new skills at the Southside Rising for Justice event, which was beautiful on many levels. Tony Shivers of Still Smiling Photography captured some of that day in photos, click here for a gallery.

In addition to studying with JMRPO, this summer the squad is working with a number of other awesome instructors to build skills. For example, Asheville FM’s Elizabeth Lashay Garland (Slay the Mic) and Emma Hutchens (Asheville FM News Hour) have been teaching podcasting, and Aisha Adams held a workshop on social media. It should be noted that those three women are community media mavens in their own right.

I love that there is a circle of adults sharing transformational tools with young people.

I love that community media is flourishing in Asheville.

CoThinkk 2017 Leadership Award Winners

Community Leaders to be Celebrated

There are mighty leaders in our community who are doing miraculous work, work that often goes unrecognized. It is immensely important to take the time to celebrate the contributions these leaders are making towards our collective liberation. Thankfully, CoThinkk has been doing this. “CoThinkk is a ‘giving circle’ that uses collective time, talent, and treasure towards investment strategies that address education, economic mobility/opportunity, and leadership development towards impacting some of the most critical social issues facing African-American & Latinx communities in Asheville and Western NC.”

The 2018 CoThinkk Community Leadership & Ally Award nomination process now open. Nominations must be submitted by August 3 using this link: selected will be recognized at CoThinkk’s annual awards event on Saturday, October 20, along with this year’s grant recipients.

I love this opportunity to love on those who leading us towards liberation.

blackalachian graphic

Love and Light Abounds

Excerpt from the Urban News: “Asheville native Daniel White is one of only a few African Americans who have thru-hiked the world-famous Appalachian Trail; in fact, during his six-month trek, he met only one other black hiker. But the camaraderie, friendliness, and unexpected kindnesses he encountered along the Trail elevated his spirit just as the hike itself brought him a memorable sense of peace.” Read the whole article here.

On Thursday, July 26, at 6:30 pm, at the Edington Center, 133 Livingston Street, Daniel will give a talk titled “Love and Light: The Blackalachian on the Appalachian Trail.”

Find more events on my calendar.

May your cups be filled with inspiration.


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Cover photo by Tony Shivers, Still Smiling Photography