BrownTown reflects on the turbulent events of March and April 2021 in Chicago within the context of the community-based media, truth in journalism, and participating in and documenting social movements with Mateo Zapata, Chicago South Side creative and photojournalist.
Mateo Zapata is a South Side-raised creative of Colombian/Chilean descent working at the intersection of photojournalism, the arts, hip-hop and community advocacy.
BrownTown reflects on the turbulent events of March and April 2021 in Chicago within the context of the community-based media, truth in journalism, and participating in and documenting social movements with Mateo Zapata.
Mateo shares his introduction into organizing for immigrants' rights in resistance to the Sensenbrenner bill in 2006 (1, 2). He and BrownTown harp on the importance of organizing and grassroots action regardless of policy promises and often in direct opposition to legislation from the state (i.e. hunger strike during Daley Jr. Administration - 1, 2, 3). BrownTown places Mateo's op-ed for the Chicago Tribune on the police killing of Adam Toledo in March as a site of introspection for nuanced, complex, and humanizing journalism that also directly and unapologetically calls out police violence. The guys apply a similar focus on community-based media and independent journalism when analyzing the myth of objectivity, the importance of language ("police-involved shooting" vs. "fatally shot" vs. "police killing"), as well as the role of social media in all of it. BrownTown and Mateo go back-and-forth sifting through seemingly unrelated topics -- from comparing tech CEOs to street organizations, to Alderman Ed Burke being absolute trash, to the normalization of political lobbying and violence of the American empire -- before speaking on the police killing of Anthony Alvarez, noteworthy events/actions of the 2020 uprisings, the past, present, and future of Black and Brown solidarity, and the Justice for Adam Toledo Logan Square rally (1, 2, 3).
How do we as independent media outlets/documentarians/journalists use our mediums to challenge often false yet dominant narratives in media and uplift the voices within our communities that are most impacted by them? Here's their take. Originally recorded April 30, 2021.
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Articles and events mentioned:
CREDITS: Intro song We The People by A Tribe Called Quest and outro song Fight Like Ida B & Marsha P by Chicago's own Ric Wilson. Audio engineered by Genta Tamashiro and Kiera Battles.
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