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, 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.