Our team of staff and clients leaves for the AMC tomorrow. Please make a gift to support their trip today!
The first time I attended the Allied Media Conference (AMC) was in 2011, as a BFC client. But back to my story. In 2011, I was excited to have an opportunity to learn skills that would help me be more efficient in my work with Valencia’s It is What It Is Mobile Talk Show. The show is an online platform for people in communities in the Washington, DC metropolitan area who don’t often get media coverage or a chance to share their stories, unless a tragedy happens. I was excited to have an opportunity to meet with other media makers and activists from all over the country. I had no idea that it would actually change my life.
The conference had a smörgåsbord of sessions facilitated by activists from all over the world who were sharing what they knew. I met people like me who are dedicated to creating social change by living it. For the first time in my life I witnessed artists, musicians, farmers, computer whizzes, chefs, seamstresses, and dancers learning skills from each other and strategizing to work collaboratively to change our society for the better.
When I received my booklet with the session descriptions, I felt like a kid in a candy store. I highlighted the sessions I wanted to participate in and tried to attend them all, even though some of them were happening at the same time. I coordinated with people who were going to sessions that I wanted to go to and attended half of one and then “switched classes” with them at the break and went to the other.
The atmosphere at the AMC was very inviting and I noticed the intentionality of conference organizers in making sure that everyone felt welcome. I participated in a workshop on good listening skills, then attended sessions where people shared their stories and discussed the similarities of the “human story” that exist regardless of culture or ethnicity.
At the “Thousand Kites” session I learned about the Prison Industrial Complex and watched powerful interviews with people who have incarcerated family members with whom they are unable to communicate. A few months later, during a Holiday Family Photos event at Bread, I interviewed Ms. Thomasina Bennett, a client of the SE Center and submitted her interview to Thousand Kites:
The intergenerational learning spaces at the AMC present valuable skills and information in a way that encourages participant involvement. I was awed at the resilience of native Detroiters who had and were experiencing the financial breakdown of their city and were literally developing communications infrastructures for people with no money. I created my first gmail account in Computer Skills for Elders (which in today’s world of ever-evolving technology is anybody over 40) and learned how to use Google Calendar and Google Drive at Shawty Got Skillz. I attended a session on video blogging, or vlogging, and created a Tumblr account to share my knit and crochet creations with other crafters worldwide. I attended a session on video camera skills that showed how to create alternative lighting and set up impromptu props.
The AMC changed my life by making me feel less alone in my zeal for creating social change. I met people there who I stay in touch with on a regular basis who are working to create positive social change where they live. Since attending the AMC in 2011, I have gone from being a BFC client to being employed in the Advocacy and Community Engagement Department. I’ve taught a crochet class, received a citywide activist award, trained dozens of staff and clients on media tools, and facilitate and coordinate the Wellness Space. I am excited to be using the skills I learned at the AMC in my day-to-day work.
The AMC is an experience that truly enriched my life and I’m glad that Bread for the City is investing in more people like me, who will bring the skills and relationships back to the BFC community and beyond! We need your help to send another 6 clients to AMC this year. Please give today!