Highlights from the 2014 FMJC with Personal Note from Youth Leader Jordan Scruggs

2014 FYRE Media Justice Camp

2014 FYRE Media Justice Camp

By Quita Tinsley, SPARK Youth Organizer

SPARK’s 2014 Fierce Youth Reclaiming & Empowering Media Justice Camp (FMJC), in collaboration with Advocates for Youth, brought 10 queer and trans youth of color from across the Southeast to Atlanta to reimagine and create their own media. This year participants advanced their blogging and vlogging skills and learned how to incorporate it into their activism.  The trainings included reproductive justice, digital storytelling, and the following topics: closing the coverage gap, abortion access (1 in 3 Campaign), and violence against queer and trans youth of color and women of color.

In 2011, Funders for LGBT Issues found that Georgia received only $526,783 or less than $2 per person in LGBTQ funding. This lack of financial support often means that organizations are forced to make difficult decisions about how best to serve a growing, underserved community. The SPARK FYRE program does this by providing opportunities for queer and trans youth of color from the Southeast to develop relationships, get hands on media training, and gain reproductive justice organizing and leadership skills. Importantly, it gives participants a platform to amplify their voices, lived experiences, and accelerate their activism.

The 2014 media campers produced three short videos and wrote three blogs, which will roll out later this fall.

Jordan Scruggs

Jordan Scruggs, FMJC ’13 Camp Attendee, FMJC ’14 Camp Peer Leader

Jordan Scruggs, one of SPARK’s youth leaders, was a 2013 FMJC participant and returned this year as a 2014 FMJC peer leader. “I wanted to be a peer leader because I know how important the voices and stories of QPOC lives are,” says Jordan. “We’re a beautiful, diverse, and complex community and our lives and stories matter. They deserve to be told and I believe that blogging is the perfect medium to do it.”In her spare time, Jordan runs several blogs, one of which is Jordan Ponders. As we mourn the loss of another black youth at the hands of state violence, now more than ever, we must recognize the psychological impact it has on those living at the intersections of race, gender, class, and sexuality.  In the wake of current events, Jordan’s recent post, “Absence of Hope,” is on her journey with mental health and depression. As a true to life activist, she uses her own experiences as a way to help others and fight for justice!

It is the voices of young people like Jordan that SPARK strengthens. To learn how to support SPARK’s FYRE Media Justice Camps, visit our website here.

Apply NOW to the 2014 FYRE Media Justice Camp!

2014 FMJC Post CardCamp Dates: July 24-27, 2014
Location: Atlanta, Georgia

Priority Deadline : Friday, June 13th – Applications reviewed on a rolling basis after the deadline. Space is limited.

The FYRE Media Justice Camp is a dynamic 4-day/3-night gathering of Southern lesbian, gay, bi, trans, queer, and questioning youth of color (LGBTQQ), ages 18-25, reimagining and creating media for our resilience, our lives, and our communities.

This year, we’re amplifying the voices of LGBTQQ Youth of color through social media and blogging! Participants will engage in interactive skill shares about reproductive justice, media justice, and artivism while gaining the skills needed to create liberatory media.

You must be able to attend the camp in its entirety to be accepted. To apply, please complete the 2014 FYRE Media Justice Camp online form. Please answer each question to the best of your ability. We thank you for your interest in this amazing gathering and look forward to reading your responses.

Nia Mitchell Named New Speak Justice Take Action Field Director

Nia Mitchell

Nia Mitchell, MPH, CPH

Greetings Community,

On behalf of SPARK Reproductive Justice NOW, I am pleased to announce Nia Mitchell, MPH, CPH, as the new Speak Justice Take Action Field Director.  Nia joins the SPARK team effective immediately.  Raised in Georgia, Nia brings a dynamic set of public health and grassroots organizing experiences deeply rooted in reproductive justice values.

For the past ten years, Nia has coordinated a number of leadership development and health promotion programs for communities of color (i.e., immigrant and refugee, LGBTQ, women, youth) in Atlanta, GA. She has also participated in and led civic engagement activities on several racial and reproductive justice issues (e.g., abortion access, comprehensive sex education, interpersonal and state violence, school to prison pipeline, sterilization abuse). In 2012, Nia received a Master of Public Health from Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM). While at MSM, she organized events on health disparities impacting LGBTQ people of African descent, and worked with the Phoenix Foundation, Inc. to develop a sexual health program for HIV-positive gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men in the Old Fourth Ward community. Additionally, she was awarded funding through MSM’s Center for Community Health & Service-Learning to implement a reproductive justice program for young women at North Clayton High School in College Park, GA and Mays High Schools in Atlanta, GA.

Prior to assuming the position at SPARK, Nia was an Evaluation Fellow with CDC’s Office of Women’s Health and the Office of Health Equity in the National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention. She worked with the offices on planning and implementing evaluations, and developing an “easy-to-use” toolkit for community-based organizations evaluating women and girls’ health programming.

As the Speak Justice Take Action Field Director, Nia leads SPARK’s program department including our newly formed integrated voter engagement campaign efforts.

“I am honored to serve as SPARK’s new Speak Justice Take Action Field Director.  As a former volunteer and supporter, I am excited to lead the organization’s leadership development and civic engagement activities to ensure that those most impacted by reproductive oppression have the opportunity to make the healthiest and safest decisions regarding their bodies, families, and communities.”

Please join the Board and staff as we welcome Nia Mitchell, MPH, CPH, to the SPARK team.

All the best,

Malika Redmond, MA
Executive Director