Fabulous Friday

Here it is, the moment we’ve all been waiting for: the opening day of the National Conference for Media Reform!

And let me just say that this is going to be one fierce Friday from start to finish. Our Conference Commons — our very own interactive public square — opens today, as does our Tech and Media Playground, where you can refine your tech chops, hone your production skills and test free software. And if you’re steaming about perennial funding threats to public media, you can channel your anger and create something irresistibly cute in our Puppet Making workshop.

We’ve got lots of great sessions in store for you today. More Diversity, Less Consolidation: How to Change the Media features a power-pack group of panelists—including former Federal Communications Commissioner Michael Copps and Chanelle Hardy of the National Urban League — in a discussion about ways to expand media ownership opportunities for underrepresented communities.

Several sessions focus on technology and Internet policy, including Building the Future: Women, Code and Inclusion, a look at how women are using code to innovate and make social change. Panelists include Kimberly Bryant of Black Girls Code and Lisa Williams of Placeblogger.com.

But here’s the rub: These two sessions meet at the same exact time — in neighboring ballrooms, no less. Therein lies the conference challenge: We’ve packed this event with so many great offerings that you’re going to have to make some tough choices along the way.

Our film festival gets going in earnest on Friday, with screenings of Sundance winner Middle of Nowhere, which explores a young woman’s separation from her incarcerated husband; Race, Power & American Sports, a look at the influence of sports culture; and Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry, a portrait of China’s most famous dissident.

In the afternoon we’ll come together for Learning from Our Past, Looking to the Future, our opening plenary. We have a bevy — a plethora, if you will — of dynamic speakers, including NARAL Pro-Choice America President Ilyse Hogue, Democracy Now! co-host Juan González, bestselling author David Sirota, civil rights activist Carlotta Walls LaNier … and our amazing conference manager, Mary Alice Crim.

Art is interwoven throughout our conference, and the opening plenary is no exception. Albuquerque Poet Laureate Hakim Bellamy will read some of his work, and artist Staceyann Chin will present a performance she’s prepared just for us.

To cap it all off we have our Shake Your Media Maker Party, which will be held in the lovely McNichols Building. Our headliner is Public Enemy beatmaker and Grammy-nominated producer Hank Shocklee, who will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in just a couple of weeks. Also on tap are hip-hop musician Kitty Crimes, an amazing marching band and the Romero Theater Troupe.

This opening day is going to be one wild ride, so have fun! And oy, don’t even get me started on Saturday …

People + Policy

= Positive Change for the Public Good

people + policy = Positive Change for the Public Good