So, my friend Kate invited me to come out to Free Spirit Media‘s ten year anniversary-fundraiser-birthday party on Thursday. It’s the last week of school, and I had a great time the last time I went, plus: what a cool organization! How could I say no? (and tiny burgers and teeny rice crispie treats on a bamboo skewer?)
It was a really beautiful, if slightly chilly night. The speakers were really great and inspirational, and so is the whole organization. I grew up with a radio-tv-film production professor for a mom, and taught a tiny bit of production in my Art and Technology class during student teaching, so I appreciate both the opportunity and accomplishment of the students. Click here and press play to see what this organization does. It’s really an amazing group.
I wish I could upload the film I took on my phone of Kim Foxx, Cook County State’s Attorney and Vice President on the board of directors. Her speech really was moving. She made a statement that while she was a volunteer, she had to be there because of her job, a statement I didn’t understand until she clarified that she is a juvenile prosecutor in Cook County, and some of the kids she prosecutes are anywhere from 10- 17 years of age. I imagine that seeing the contrasts in paths of young people must be heartwrenching for her. She made a point that especially these last couple of weeks in Chicago, emotions have been high, and to not paint an image of black Chicago teens with a broad brush. What a powerful, powerful tool the media is, she pointed out, and if you do not have access and use of that tool, you don’t have the ability to tell your story. There are kids who commit crimes (she knows!) but the lion’s share are good kids, who want the best for their lives. Free Spirit Media gives them the opportunity to tell their stories. ( If you haven’t heard about the “wildings” and “flash mobs” in Chicago, you should know that they have been widely covered in the media, and have been an issue fraught with controversy and racial tension.) She lauded the kids in the program for their accomplishments, and FSM for the opportunities it offers. It was really a touching speech. I love that she pointed out that media can really create critical thinkers, both in the production and reception. So simple to point someone out and categorize them. To really understand the problems in the community takes a lot more critical thought. Wow, is that up my alley.
Dig around the site. You’ll be impressed, and inspired, and if you like, donate! I think the donations are doubled for June, but I am not sure.