BPM Invites Storytellers to Join the Fight for Vaccine Equity

by Leslie Fields-Cruz

Next week, Black Public Media and the National Network to Innovate for Covid-19 and Adult Vaccine Equity (NNICE) will host the first of several Black Media Story Summits focused on engaging media makers in the national effort to boost vaccination rates among African Americans. These summits, which will roll out in various parts of the country over the next couple of years, are designed to bring local media makers together with local healthcare professionals, community organizers and other stakeholders to brainstorm media projects that can support local vaccine efforts. Media makers who attend these summits and subsequently submit proposals are eligible for up to $60K in project funding.

Those of you who’ve subscribed to this blog for a while know that the upcoming summit — which takes place on Wed., March 2 — is not BPM’s first Black Media Story Summit. But it is the first to focus on a public health issue. Though the initial summit is specifically focused on improving vaccine uptake in Baltimore, media makers from across the nation are welcome to attend. The virtual event features a keynote message from Grey’s Anatomy executive producer Dr. Zoanne Clack, followed by panel discussions about the history of Black Baltimore’s relationship with the healthcare community, reflections of unsung heroes in the fight against Covid-19, and the role Black media storytellers have traditionally had in influencing social change.

Dr. Zoanne Clack

In the afternoon, participants will break into small groups for substantive conversations about the approaches media makers might take to help move the vaccine hesitant toward full vaccination.

It is no secret that Covid-19 has had a disproportionately catastrophic impact on our communities. My colleagues and I welcomed NNICE’s invitation to have us help bring Black media storytellers into the fight to save Black lives. I can’t wait to see what our makers come up with. For program details and to register for the virtual summit, visit our website.

Meanwhile, this week, we invite you to tune in to the launch of America ReFramed’s 10th Anniversary Season opener, Fannie Lou Hamer’s America. The film’s broadcast premiere is set for tonight, Tues., Feb. 22, at 9 p.m., ET. Check local listings for airtimes in your area and if you miss it, tune into WORLD Channel on Feb. 24 where you can stream it anytime.

Also on Thurs., Feb. 24, at 6 p.m., ET, join BPMplus Fellow Bayaté Ross Smith as he talks with Professor Jamal Joseph (Columbia School of the Arts) and Kendall Thomas (Nash Professor of Law and Director of the Studio for Law and Culture) about Visualizing Violence: Art Looks at the Law and History of Implicit Bias. Registration is free and open to the public. The program is part of Ross’ artist-in-residency at Columbia Law School, where he recently opened an exhibition featuring two of his works: Red Summers VR and Taking Aim. Go here to obtain a Zoom link to the conversation.

Finally, I hope you’ll join us Thursday evening (Feb. 24), at 7 p.m. for the first of what we intend to be our annual Black History Month virtual mixer. Participation is free and all are welcome. So, come hang out and invite a friend. Go here to register.

Have a great week!

— Fields-Cruz is the executive director of Black Public Media

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Black Public Media

Black Public Media (BPM) develops, produces, funds, and distributes media content about the African American and global Black experience.