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A Media Focused Nonprofit For Social Change

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Writings on our projects, latest happenings, experiences as a new organization, insights into the media world, and issues that are facing our communities.

As the legendary classic

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Intersectionality of Homelessness

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Written by Allison Clark.

Recently I read a memoir titled, “Just Another Bullshit Night in Suck City” by Nick Flynn.  This novel chronicles the dynamic relationship between a drifter father and his estranged son as the father drifts in and out of homelessness.

This made me think about the intersectionality of homelessness and issues of social injustice.  By that I mean, issues of social justice could potentially cause homelessness, and people experiencing homeless are potentially more vulnerable to areas of social injustice.

For instance, a person leaving prison may encounter difficulty finding a home (housing discrimination), gaining lawful employment (employment discrimination), or paying mandatory court fees.  Another individual might have lost their job during the recession and struggled to pay their mortgage and stay afloat.  After a bankruptcy claim and an end in unemployment benefits (financial discrimination), finding and paying for housing is difficult, even more so for marginalized populations.  These factors leave this population closer to experiencing social injustices that increase likelihood to experience homelessness.

On the other hand, people experiencing homelessness are more vulnerable to an area of social injustice such as human trafficking.  With limited options for financial independence, people experiencing homelessness are targeted by traffickers and taken advantage of.  There are a high number of people experiencing homelessness who also deal with mental issues; issues that are often ‘put on a back burner’.  As the book explains, years of living outside, or on the street, change a person physically, mentally, and emotionally.  As time goes on, reintegrating into mainstream living is increasingly more difficult.  If an individual does transition back into housing, explaining long periods of unemployment is difficult when trying to find a new job to maintain stability.

This book shows that homelessness affects people from all backgrounds, even those with family ties and networks of support.  Too often people living with homelessness are marginalized creating social stigmas and invisible barriers of injustice.  While funding exists, it is limited and does not cover the number of people applying for assistance.  If you can, please donate some time, money, clothing, or food to a shelter.

What are some other intersections between people experiencing homelessness and social justice?

Meet the new MAN member: Allison Clark

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allison squareMedia Action Network is lucky to bring own an additional team member at the beginning of the year. Allison Clark joined the MAN team at the beginning of the year and has brought an enthusiasm and focus on community outreach that strengthens us. As Community Outreach Coordinator, Allison seeks ways to engage our local communities and engage people to participate with the medes.

1. Where are you from?
I am from Loveland Colorado.
2. What is important to know about you?
I am from a large family and love the chance to know a variety of different people from all walks of life.
3. Describe yourself in 3 words.
Passionate, Creative, Compassionate
4. What did you study? And why did you choose that major?
Double Major in Anthropology and Global Marginalized Populations. I choose these majors because of my deep desire to help people around the world to better understand one another and work with each other to achieve peace and happiness.
5. What is social justice to you?
Social justice for me is the never ending battle to hear even the faintest of voices in a world full of loud people and demanding justice for those who are overlooked.
6. Why did you want to join the MAN team?
I am anxious to be a part of this endeavor to help promote the mission of social justice, to learn about working in a non-profit, to build my experience and resume, and to connect myself and MAN with other organizations that are looking to end social injustices.
7. Why is media important?
Media is important because it is never static and it allows opinions and theories from anyone to become ‘news’ in a heartbeat.  It also is a mechanism for change and organizing people who believe in that change and are willing to mobilize for it.
8. A random tidbit.
My family owns and operates a dinner theatre.  My favorite animal is the owl.  I have over 40 first cousins.  My family has polygamy in our history.

Finding Focus and Meaning Each Month

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Our mission at the medes is to highlight and focus on social injustices seen around the world. These injustices come in many forms and can change people lives. This year the medes is looking to assist in the monthly efforts to bring awareness and support to issues that are targeted each month. While not all publications will fall under these targeted areas, it is chance to assist in these awareness issues and offer more education opportunities during these designated times.

 

MARCH: Gender Equality Month and Women’s History Month

It is no lie that your experience in this life is greatly affected by the gender that our physical body suggests, and by the gender we choose to display. For many people these two are the same, but for those individuals who experience gender differently, the world can be full of closed doors. Social injustices surrounding gender equality and discrimination are wrong and yet difficult to defeat. As we look back at women’s history this month and recall many of the brave battles that were fought on behalf of women’s rights, remember there are still battles raging on that need the support of many. Be an advocate for gender equality.

 

Here is an extended list of some of the topics that we will be taking on. If you are interested in learning about these monthly topics to be addressed and/or submitting an article or media piece to be published, please contact Allison Clark at allison@themedes.org

January:     Poverty In America Awareness Month

February:   Ethnic Equality Month

March:   Gender Equality Month, Nutrition Month, Women’s History Month

April:   Sexual Assault Awareness Month, Child Abuse Prevention Month, Poetry Month

May:    Family Support Month, Helping American Youth Month, Mental Health Month, Senior Citizens Month, Social Media Month, Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month

June:   AIDS Awareness Month, Gay and Lesbian Pride Month, Student Safety Month

July:  Recreation and Parks Month, Purposeful Parenting Month

August:  Immunization Awareness Month

September:  Hispanic Heritage Month, Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month

October: AIDS Awareness Month, Domestic Violence Awareness Month

November:  Adoption Awareness Month, American Indian and Alaskan Native Heritage Month, Diabetes Awareness Month, Non-profit Awareness Month

December:   Human Rights Day

Networking Is Fun. Here is how to do it.

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by Kristen Francis

When I used to think of networking I’d think of business suits, dry conversations and looking forward to when I can take my shoes off, or, even worse, ‘I am not going to know anyone and I will probably make a dork of myself.’ Although I’m pretty good at making a dork of myself in public, I was wrong about the rest. It is totally normal to dress casual, crack jokes and even enjoy a beer (or two). If you are even more like me – broke – networking is a great excuse to get out of the house to do some socializing without feeling guilty about spending five bucks at a bar. It is the key to spreading awareness of your organization, finding future collaborators within the community, and it’s fun, so go out and do it!

For those of you who are new to the networking scene, here’s a list of tools to put in your pocket for when you are about to hit it off with your future connections:

1. Always wear a smile. The easiest way to get a stranger to approach you is by donning some pearly whites. No one wants to spark up a conversation with the person who looks like they are the least exciting in the room.

2. Have an elevator speech. Back in the day I was always told that you want to have about 20 seconds of who you are and what it is that you do, but thanks to all the fast paced stimuli of the 20th century, we get bored much quicker now. Keep the spiel to about 10 seconds or less. When you introduce yourself to someone new tell them your name, your organization and your mission statement or an associated tagline. Short and sweet.

3. Bring more than enough business cards. I have forgotten to replenish my stash of cards before attending events and needless to say I don’t have any strong contacts from any of those nights. People will say they will remember you; they will not. Have the cards to help jog the memory.

4. Do some research about the event before you get there. If there is a guest list, poke through it and find out who all is going and who they are affiliated with. You could make your organization’s biggest connection to date by doing a little planning ahead of time. Plus, you don’t want to arrive at an event that is asking for a canned food item at the door and show up empty handed.

5. Talk to the person/team hosting the event. Although the hosts are probably tired from planning the event and the last minute catering snafu, they put on the event for a reason – to make connections in the community. So go ahead and say hi, and make sure to say thanks for a great event.

6. Don’t be nervous about going alone. People do it all the time. Asking someone a question is the best way to get someone to talk to you. Ask things like: What organization are you affiliated with? How did you find out about the event? Are you familiar with so-and-so organization? Do you like sushi? And if you’re nervous to approach a crowd of people, an easy way to engage is to start talking with someone who just arrived to the event and has not yet joined a conversation. They will probably be happy you did.

Well, I hope that this helps you put your best foot forward in making the connections your organization needs. Just remember to have fun, keep the beer intake to two or less, and even if you don’t make any solid connections, there will be people in the community who will now know your organization exists. Happy networking!

Kristen is one of the founders of Media Action Network. Contact Kristen at Kristen@MediaActionNetwork.org.

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