Are you now more or less pessimistic about the Trump adminstration than right after the elections? We spoke with four Portlanders about their emotions right after the November election--newly elected city council member Chloe Eudlay; Wanderlust ring master Noah Mickens; local activist Cameron Whitten; and, Natalie Sept, who had worked on the Clinton campaign.

Summer Documentary Program Alumni Profiles

In celebration of all the emerging media producers from ten years of our Summer Documentary Program, and in an effort to continue to share stories of social change, MISC is excited to profile our alumni and the inspiring work they're up to around the country. This week we're proud to introduce Eli Plenk, a graduate of Hampshire College working toward restorative justice in Massachusetts.

ELI PLENK

I serve as Program Manager for Our Restorative Justice; a nonprofit in Lowell, MA that works with school, courts and communities to implement alternative approaches to justice that disrupt the school-to-prison pipeline. The role is a sort of catch-all job that involves a fair amount of on-the-ground work with criminal justice involved youth as well as more structural and strategic work for the organization. The on-the-ground part of my job involves shepherding young people through a restorative justice diversion program, which is an alternative to regular court in Lowell. Our model centers on the belief that those closest to a case are the ones most qualified to resolve it and as a result our work is really about bringing together important people in a young person's life and coalescing a system of support around that kid. We work with young people for at least six months, and over that time meet regularly with them and their family and facilitate a series of restorative circles. In circle folks collectively problem solve, with the goal of healing harm and addressing the root causes of the young person's criminal justice system involvement. Beyond that work I'm also working to expand the organization's reach; both topically and geographically. We're building a restorative justice program in Boston and recently began taking status offense cases. As far as we know we're the first organization to ever design a restorative justice model for status offenses, which is incredibly exciting given how many young people end up endlessly system-involved as a result of those cases. I like this work because I think restorative justice is a viable alternative to mass incarceration that addresses harm without resorting to retribution. It does a good job of actually dealing with the things that lead young people into the system and as a result it feels much more sustainable than our country's traditional approach to justice.

Education: Hampshire College, 2013 (American Studies major, Education minor)

2009 Summer Documentary Program video: A Home of My Own

Would you like to share any of your recent work?
Last summer I wrote a piece for the Harvard Journal of African American Public Policy on faith, race, and social change. It was a profile of my friend Yehudah Webster; a deeply religious African American Jew who I met while involved in organizing against police brutality in New York. The piece emerged from a series of conversations we had, which challenged me to think differently about faith, and in particular about faith based activism. The piece has a number of typos since clearly neither I nor the team of Harvard grad students who edit that publication can spell even the most basic words. Nonetheless it's something I'm proud of and I hope people will take a look if they're so inclined. The journal is linked here and my article is on page 75.

What is a lasting memory from your summer with MISC?
I remember sitting with the other fellows (in a basement I think?) brainstorming possible documentary topics. I was astounded by the depth of my peers' ideas and by their commitment to a brand of thought that borrowed from both organizing and media making. I was new to Portland and new to adulthood and new to media and that summer I was just beginning to learn what intersectional political work entailed. Those conversations about what to cover, why to cover it, and how we as media makers relate to larger social and political movements will certainly stick with me for a long time.

Can you recommend a film, podcast, book, or media work?
I recently finished reading Yo Miss: A Graphic Look at High School  and loved it. As a former teacher and current youth worker I'm very leery of books or movies that depict urban education. They tend to gravitate towards two problematic extremes; either the kids all live these totally hopeless lives and the teacher comes in and instantly saves them with literature or science or whatever, or the text is so busy trying to prove that urban kids are great that it over steers in the other direction and doesn't address the challenges that many young people face. I appreciated Yo Miss because it was the first book I read about urban education that was able to capture a more nuanced reality; one that felt true to my experiences as an educator working with low-income kids of color. It's a graphic novel about a teacher working at an alternative high school in New York City that's designed for young people who have not done well in traditional schools and are at risk of dropping out of high school. It doesn't shy away from the very real and sometimes painful struggles that young people in a school of that nature face, but it also doesn't let those struggles define the characters. The author (who is a teacher at this high school) takes the time to explain the cast of characters in a way that's neither rosy nor judgemental and does a good job of illustrating what teaching is like on a day to day level without losing sight of some of the structural factors that inform that reality. Each young person and adult in the books has a lot of pain and a good amount of joy and relates to this school in a slightly different way that's based on their personalities and histories. Overall it's an incredibly fun and honest book that doesn't take itself or it's characters too seriously (think Dykes to Watch Out For about urban ed). In addition it's eminently readable and you can easily get through the whole thing in an afternoon or two. When people ask me what they should read to better understand urban education this is the one book I unequivocally recommend.

Thanks for sharing your work with us, Eli! And thanks to all the alumni who shared their work and stories with us. This is the last alumni submission for now, but you can learn more about the Summer Documentary Program and if you are an alum, please email rose@mediamakingchange.org with your story. 

At the base of the American dream is homeownership. But, as current economic troubles tell us, it is not so easy. A Portland-based program helps to place families in land-trust homes. A short profile by students from the 2009 Northwest Institute for Social Change summer program.

Summer Documentary Program Alumni Profiles

In celebration of all the emerging media producers from ten years of our Summer Documentary Program, and in an effort to continue to share stories of social change, MISC is excited to profile our alumni and the inspiring work they're up to around the country. This week we're proud to introduce Trisha Patterson, a 2016 program alumna and Senior at Western Washington University in Bellingham.

TRISHA PATTERSON

I am working on a film about an Indigenous Land Defenders camp called the Unist’ot’en Camp in northern British Columbia (below). I am also studying to take the LSAT, with hopes to studying environmental law at the University of Oregon. Go Ducks.

Education: Western Washington University, 2017 (Public Relations major, Political Science and Environmental Policy minor)

2016 Summer Documentary Program
Video: Erion: stepping to the line
Radio: Exchange. Barter. Share.

What is a lasting memory from your summer with MISC?
Being given the privilege of being mentored by established creatives and filmmakers throughout the process of producing radio and a film is the most prominent and lasting memory I have of MISC. The leadership at MISC gives their hearts and all of their energy to organizing the program in a way that is intentional and effective, yet allows room for intense creativity and cooperation among the group.

Can you recommend a film, podcast, book, or media work?
I would recommend Mia Mingus’ Changing the Framework: Disability Justice. This is the title of a zine I recently read that discusses disability politics, accessibility and ableism.

Here's a note to our MISC community from Trisha:

Howdy social changers, 
I came to MISC last summer, my mind brimming with stories, and anticipated (correctly) a jam-packed summer of learning, growing and solidifying a passion for media and storytelling. 
That summer in Portland, Oregon was foundational to my experience in journalism. It taught me to think critically about the subjects I portray and the issues I choose to engage in. I gained the technical knowledge to quickly navigate editing software and got the inside scoop on an industry I’m attempting to jump into. 
When I returned to Bellingham, Wash. for my senior year at Western Washington University, I started thinking about future projects I wanted to work on and ways to document and share the activism and organizing I saw going on around me. I became active in the Bellingham No DAPL Coalition and got more involved in organizing surrounding Indigenous sovereignty and resistance to fossil fuel infrastructure. 
This winter, I travelled north to the Unist’ot’en Camp, a critical frontline resisting colonialism and fossil fuel expansion. During the time I was up there, I collaborated with another camp supporter to create a short video (13 minutes) about what life at camp is like during the winter. It’s this type of DIY media that contributes to grassroots organizing for social change, and I’m proud of the work we accomplished in such a short amount of time. 
I hope you all have a powerful year, and thank you for the change you are helping create.  
Best, 
Trisha
A documentary short about the life and purpose of Unist'ot'en Camp, December 2016, produced by Listening and Remembering. http://unistoten.camp http://listenremember.org
In 2007, Erion Moore II was a varsity basketball player and soon-to-be college graduate. A year later, he was diagnosed with scleroderma, a debilitating and life-threatening disease. After eight years of fighting it, an adaptive yoga program at the Daya Foundation helps Erion regain his strength so he can shoot free throws again. Filmed during the 2016 Summer Documentary Program by Trisha Patterson (Western Washington University, class of 2017) and Rashad Saleh (Brown University, class of 2019).

Thanks for sharing your work with us, Trisha! Watch Trisha's film Winter at Unist'ot'en below, read more about her experiences since summer on our blog, and learn more about the Summer Documentary Program

Summer Documentary Program Alumni Profiles

In celebration of all the emerging media producers from ten years of our Summer Documentary Program, and in an effort to continue to share stories of social change, MISC is excited to profile our alumni and the inspiring work they're up to around the country. This week we're proud to introduce Molly Bennett, a Colby College alumna, freelance writer, audio producer, and assistant to an author in New York City. 

MOLLY BENNETT

I work as the personal assistant to an author and do freelance writing and audio production on the side.

Education: Colby College, 2011 (Anthropology/Creative Writing double major), Salt Institute for Documentary Studies, 2011, Hollins University, 2014 (MFA in Creative Writing)

2009 Summer Documentary Program
Video: How does your garden grow?
Radio: Tool Library

Do you have any recent work you'd like to share? Here's some of my food writing for Paste. And here's a chapbook (see below) I wrote that came out this fall.

What is a lasting memory from your summer with MISC?
Learning about tool libraries, working cameras at Pickathon (with Rose!!)

Can you recommend a film, podcast, book, or media work?
I just saw the Contemporary Color documentary (officially out next year) and it is the most whimsical, emotional, riveting thing I've encountered in a long time. I did not know I wanted to see high school color guards perform with indie bands but it turned out to be the thing I wanted most in the world! Books: West of Eden by Jean Stein (my boss). Obviously I am biased but this book is an oral history masterpiece. Podcasts: Right now I'm really into The SporkfulOn Being, and Reply All. Those three tend to hit most of the parts of my soul.

Thanks for sharing your work with us, Molly!

Growing Gardens promotes home-scale organic food gardening to improve nutrition, health and self-reliance while enhancing the quality of life and the environment for individuals and communities in Portland, Oregon. Film made during the Media Institute for Social Change's 2009 Summer Documentary Program by Molly Bennett (Colby College '11), Kira Fisher (Vassar College '10), Jensen Power (St. Olaf College '10), and Rose Holdorf (Macalester College '11).

Summer Documentary Program Alumni Profiles

In celebration of all the emerging media producers from ten years of our Summer Documentary Program, and in an effort to continue to share stories of social change, MISC is excited to profile our alumni and the inspiring work they're up to around the country. This week we're proud to introduce Adrienne Picciotto, a Mt. Holyoke College alumna who works for a film marketing company called Causeumentary. 

ADRIENNE PICCIOTTO

Education: Mt. Holyoke College, 2016 ( Film Studies and Anthropology double major)
2014 Summer Documentary Program
Video: Urban Oasis
Radio: Street Roots

What are you working on now? I have been working on the marketing for I Voted?, which is a new documentary produced by Katie Couric that explores our nation's electoral system. The film exposes the loopholes of this system to advocate for paper ballots and meaningful post-election audits. You can check out the film's website and read People Magazine's article about it here. Also, check out my company, Causeumentary, when you have the chance - we work on the marketing for films with a cause. 

What is a lasting memory from your summer with MISC?
One of my lasting memories from my summer with MISC is the end-of-program soiree, where my class presented our summer's work to the Portland community. The soiree made me realize how powerful documentary art is for communicating with the public - after the presentation, someone from a local Portland television station approached to ask if he could broadcast the short documentary my partner and I worked on to about 45,000 families affected by our piece's subject matter. That moment still sits fresh in my mind - the community gathering, the friends I made standing proudly by their work, and a socially-conscious local who wanted to use our film to spread awareness about an issue to those affected.

Can you recommend a film, podcast, book, or media work?
I would recommend the podcast Another Round. Hosted by Tracy Clayton and Heben Nigatu, the show discusses intersectional feminism, race, gender, politics, and pop culture - with booze, of course. In addition to being informative and downright hilarious, the podcast has hosted an array of high-profile interviewees, most notably Hillary Rodham Clinton and Ta Nehisi Coates, respectively. Everyone should check it out.

Thanks for sharing your work with us, Adrienne! Watch the trailer for I voted? below and learn more about the Summer Documentary Program

How do you know your vote counts? Executive produced by Katie Couric, I Voted? premiered at the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival.

Summer Documentary Program Alumni Profiles

In celebration of all the emerging media producers from ten years of our Summer Documentary Program, and in an effort to continue to share stories of social change, MISC is excited to profile our alumni and the inspiring work they're up to around the country. This week we're proud to introduce Robin Hertz, an Reed College alumna Ph.D. student at the University of Oregon. 

ROBIN HERTZ

Currently working on my Ph.D. studies at UO. My most recent project is an interdisciplinary, theoretical, and empirical literature review of the impact of child maltreatment on development, and more specifically the impact of child maltreatment on parenting the next generation. The research angle is, can mindfulness (i.e., the consciousness that arises from paying attention, on purpose, to the present moment, nonjudgmentally) practices help ameliorate the risk of the intergenerational child maltreatment? I am also working part-time as a psychotherapist in training at the Eugene VA Behavioral Health Recovery and Reintegration Services clinic, and working as the clinic assistant coordinator at the UO Psychology Clinic.

Education: Reed College 2010 BA Psychology; University of Wyoming 2013 MS Psychology; University of Oregon Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology in progress.

2009 Summer Documentary Program
Watch Robin's student video project: A Home of My Own
Listen to Robin's student radio piece: Returning Veteran's Project

What is a lasting memory from your summer with MISC?
I still vividly remember the presentations we gave at a Portland City Council meeting that we attended. I look back fondly at the camaraderie and purpose we shared together - that was wonderful!

Can you recommend a film, podcast, book, or media work?
Mindsight: The New Science of Personal Transformation by Daniel J. Siegel, MD - an approachable, science-based book about overcoming personal limitations that stem from the difficulties we encounter in life. Informative and inspiring! Since the election, I have discovered podcaster Dan Carlin (Common Sense and Hardcore History); he's got a great voice and refreshingly nonpartisan perspective on politics - highly recommended!

Thanks for sharing with us, Robin! To learn more about the Summer Documentary Program, visit mediamakingchange.org/sdp.

At the base of the American dream is homeownership. But, as current economic troubles tell us, it is not so easy. A Portland-based program helps to place families in land-trust homes. A short profile by students from the 2009 Northwest Institute for Social Change summer program.

Summer Documentary Program Alumni Profiles

In celebration of all the emerging media producers from ten years of our Summer Documentary Program, and in an effort to continue to share stories of social change, MISC is excited to profile our alumni and the inspiring work they're up to around the country. This week we're proud to introduce Savannah Tracy, an Oberlin College alumna and Communications and Engagement Fellow at a nonprofit in Pittsburgh. 

2015 Summer Documentary Program
Video: A Second Chance
Radio: Portland Mercado

SAVANNAH TRACY

Currently, I am doing a year-long volunteer service program with the Pittsburgh Urban Leadership Service Experience (PULSE). During my time in Pittsburgh, I am living co-op-style with 4 other volunteers and working at a nonprofit. The nonprofit I was placed in, The Childhood Apraxia of Speech Association of North America (CASANA), works nationally to support children who have apraxia of speech and their families. As the Communications and Engagement Fellow; I work with different kinds of media to help the organization tell its story and impact. Later in the year, I will hopefully be helping them develop a podcast for their wide audience of parents across the US and North America.

Education: Oberlin College, 2016 (Sociology and Religion double major)

What is a lasting memory from your summer with MISC?
I’ll always remember the friendship my team formed with Emanual Price (the Executive Director of SCAFÉ and the subject of our film) as a highlight of my time in Portland. I felt fortunate to get to know him and his incredible work while documenting his organization.

Can you recommend a film, podcast, book, or media work?
My go-to podcast right now is Strangers. The storytelling is exquisite. It makes me cry about 75% of the time - while *you* might not want that in a podcast, it does speak to the power of the stories. And Peter Frick Wright and Robbie Carver’s (two instructors in our Summer Documentary Program) Outside Podcast! It’s so good. I also read and loved Maggie Nelson’s The Argonauts recently. It’s a memoir of her relationship with her non-binary partner. As a poet, her prose is lyrical and full of moments that ask you to think.

Thanks for sharing your work with us, Savannah! Learn more about the Pittsburgh Urban Leadership Service Experience, the Childhood Apraxia of Speech Association of North America, or the Summer Documentary Program

Emanuel Price is an educator, community organizer, activist, founder of a non-profit, and also an ex-con. His organization, Second Chances Are For Everyone, (SCAFÉ), is committed to opening doors who have done their time and want to get back on track. Film made during the Media Institute for Social Change's 2015 Summer Documentary Program by Kendra Pittman (Virginia Commonwealth University '16), Savannah Tracy (Oberlin College '16), and Rebecca Reibstein (Smith College '16).