Posts tagged ‘election 2008’

Wildin’ at WAM!

This weekend I had the privilege of attending the Women Action and the Media Conference sponsored by the Center for New Words in Boston. It was a great opportunity to hear about feminism from a global perspective, but more importantly, I just loved hearing the voices of some of my fellow women of color activists, mothers, organizers, and social media mavens loud and clear. Here are the highlights:

Keynote: Women at the Global Frontlines

Iraqi Journalist Huda Ahmed talked about her experiences with reporting on the Iraq War here in the states. She told us a story of how, while working as a translator for the Washington Post, the very first question reporters wanted to ask Iraqi citizens were, “Are you Shi’ite or Sunni?” ” Why was that always the first question?,” Huda thought. She explained that it is not a common question in Iraqi culture, but American reporters “had to know.”

She talked to us about being passed up for stories in favor of male journalists, and her experience with McClatchy (formerly KnightRidder): “They treated me as a journalist, not a woman.” She had the opportunity to write for a woman at the Baghdad Bureau, which she says was one of her best experiences as a reporter.

Next, Jenny Manrique Cortes tells her story about reporting on trauma survivors in Colombia. She has interviewed terrorists in Colombia as well as rape and kidnapping survivors. “Women are the first victims in this war, and in the worst way,” Jenny explained. She also discussed covering  a story about mothers looking for the corpses of their assassinated sons, and the importance of mental health assistance for trauma reporters.

Peta Thornycroft gives us an picture of Zimbabwe. She chose to stay in the country to give hard news reports on the political and social landscape in Southern Africa. “Zimbabwe is looking for how they can survive each moment, how they can buy even half a loaf of bread.”  Since November, 4,000 Zimbabweans have died of cholera, a preventable disease, and yet  foreign press has not done anything.  In the excitement over the 2008 election in America, “[Foreign press] failed to tell the story,” she said.

“It is that other kind of war. Zimbabwe has the highest literacy rate, and yet no streetlights.”

I will say that I loved the keynote presentation by all of the journalists, but I do wish there was a native Zimbabwean woman there to tell her story…Perhaps this can happen at next year’s WAM!.

Keynote 2: Cynthia Lopez, Vice President of PBS American Documentary | P.O.V.

Cynthia Lopez gave some incredible statistics about women working in TV and Public Broadcasting:

  • In 2008, 37.6% of women worked in the newsroom 14% of them were women of color. How many men were deciding the news of the day? A whopping 62%.
  • Radio: 22.7% of women work in radio
  • Entertainment and Primetime: Women over 40 account for less than 10% of all program, and yet they are the largest demographic for money and income.
  • Our 5 major media organizations in public tv are run by women, including NPR (Vivian Schiller) and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (Pat Harris).
  • Oh and by the way:  PBS is the most trusted news source, followed by CNN and Fox News (!) respectively.

When hearing these stats, I couldn’t help but think about my own sorors, friends and colleagues who work in the newsroom, most of whom are women of color.  How many of them will be passed up for a man when it comes to who will write that next big story?

I also couldn’t help but think about my mom, a fly woman over 40, who can barely find a woman besides Angela Bassett on ER who really speaks to her own experiences on primetime television.

Blogging for the Man: Challenging the Commodity of Online Communities

Joanne Bramberger of PunditMom, Veronica Arreola of Viva La Feminista and media analyst Diane Farsetta discuss how to manage PR people when they want you to, in essence, sell a product on your blog. They talked about the ways in which corporations become “part of the community.” The Walmart Mom model was discussed as an example of how mommy bloggers were targeted by PR representatives .  Joanne discussed the importance of creating campaigns that are socially conscious and then finding bloggrs who write about related topics.

So what happens when you do agree to review, say, a new eyeshadow from MAC or Sephora? “You can be honest, but be careful of panning a product completely,  Joanne explained. “Give the company a head’s up if your review is going to be [a bad one].”

Feminist Blogging during Election 2008 and Women in Political Media

Cyn3matic discusses her experiences group blogging with PFLAG and Feminists for Obama along with Veronica Arreola. Jenn Ponzer from Women in Media and News discusses the way that mainstream media perpetuated the tensions between gender, race and a lack of attention to intersectionality.

Lisa Stone of BlogHer and Salon’s Rebecca Traister talk about the lack of women in political media and what the media talks about when they talk about women before, during, and after the 2008 Election.  They discussed the lack of influence of women on our major news networks and Michelle Obama’s stigmatization as an “angry black woman” at the beginning of the campaign.

Art, Activism, and Motherhood

Jeannine Cook, founder of Positive Minds, discussed balancing being a mother with the work she does in interactive media literacy with Philadelphia youth. “I make my kids a part of my work.” What a great example Jeannine becomes of her son and daughter, who will no doubt grow up to become change agents in their own right.

Sasa Ynoa, a registered nurse and doula  talks about homebirth as an option for women of color and poor women. “Feminism has not tackled motherhood as a choice and as something that should be framed as a healing experience, as empowerment.”

Women of Color and Social Media

Where are all the women of color social media mavens? Chances are she’s right in front of you. Shireen Mitchell and Glennette Clark discuss the importance of a social media policy in the workplace and the factors for the lack of women of color in Top 50 and Top 100 listings of the best and brightest social media professionals and developers. “[Women of color] should be masters of social media because we are experts at community building,” said Shireen, who also pointed out that our offline behavior and attitudes should not be much different from what we do online.

For instance, if I write about Black women in the media (which I do) then offline I should be doing work that reflects that (and in fact, I do!). Many people on Twitter for instance have thousands of followers but never engage with them online….@iamdiddy anyone?

Thus, many of the “social media experts” are white males. Through sometimes pompous self-promotion, they position themselves as key influencers. Glennette and Shireen explain that women, especially women of color, don’t do this as often as we should. There’s no reason why Corvida Raven shouldn’t be on next year’s Top 50 list. Shireen and Glennette also launched SocialMediaWOC, an online community that will highlight the great work of women of color in social media today.

And finally….

Tweets is Watchin: Of course no wrap-up of mine would be complete without the conference Twittter Feed (#wam09) for those who want to join in.

I had an absolutely great time. For those of who you I had the pleasure of meeting…good to see you. For those who weren’t there, I hope you can make it to WAM 2010!


Remember, Remember the Fourth of November: Black Blogger Roundup

Two days ago, we elected our first Black President. Here is a roundup of what Black folks are saying around the Blogosphere:

  • Average Bro gives some random thoughts the day after the election, including why all Barack would have to do is do a good job and it would be better for Black people.
  • Stereohyped says what I’ve been thinking: Barack for President is cool AND I’m happy about Michelle as First Lady. They have a side by side comparison to recent first ladies.
  • At The Root, Henry Louis Gates gives his sage wisdom about Barack Obama and what his presidency means in this post-civil rights Black America.
  • As a shameless plug, I wrote a post over at Pushback about Bill Bennett claiming that whites no longer have to listen to “excuses” from minorities….Bill Bennett, please stop talking.
  • Black Snob gives us the scoop on Michelle’s dress among other things…I like the dress better now than I did at first, but I still didn’t like it as much as her DNC dress.
  • Jack and Jill Politics has a lot of great stuff, including this cartoon.
  • And finally, Culture Kitchen has the full text of Obama’s acceptance speech and the Youtube as well.

President Obama.


I’m not even sure where to begin or even if I should be writing.

I’m still at a lost for words. I held it in all day. Unlike some people, like Rosetta had mentioned, were crying at the polls, I didn’t feel that way at all. Yes, it surreal. Yes, I felt proud. But I went all day without really crying.

Then, when CNN called the election in favor of Obama, and the words “Barack Obama elected President” flashed on the screen, tears streamed down my face. I couldn’t contain myself. As I sat in my friend’s bar on 9th and U, I was overtaken with emotion. As I began sobbing, my boyfriend held onto me. I looked over at the other end of the bar, and saw other people crying as well.

As soon as the cellphone traffic died down, I called my family. The phone call I won’t forget is my Nana, who lived through the Civil Rights Movement. Her voice was cracking as she spoke. “I never thought I’d live to see this day,” Nana said. “Now, I will live to tell my grandchildren and my great grandchildren that they, too, can be president. That they can be…whoever they want to be.

I lost it. As I looked out to 9th and U Street, NW, and saw the horns honking and black people dancing in the streets, more tears ran down my face.

My mother was away on business in Memphis, Tennessee. At the beginning of the night I received a text message from her that said the following:

PLEASE keep me posted. I am going to a church service and I need to know the news. Keep texting. Love, Mom.

So every time Obama won a state, I would text her to let her know. But when Obama was elected, I said “Mommy, Obama is our President!” She was stunned. All she could say was, “Oh my God.”

This is an incredible feeling. A Black President with a Black family. When I saw this picture:

It hit me that a woman who looks like me, a brown skinned woman, would be our first lady. From Jack and Jill Politics via SkepticalBrotha:

Is America ready for a First Lady who looks like her? A regular black woman? Not a passable biracial curly girl that they call black, but a regular black woman from the south side of Chicago? With dark skin?

Is she going to be the face of The Woman on the largest pedestal in the country? A self-confessed “loud-mouth” black woman?

If they succeed, it turns white supremacy upside down. And not, in my opinion, because a black man is in the White House, it’s because a black woman is in there. And she didn’t have to come in the back door to lie in bed with the president.

Imagine what this will do for black girls everywhere, to know that Black beauty is expressed in our White House.

I will have more to say and a Black blogger round up later on today. Until then let’s all listen to James Brown:

One more thing: how surreal is it to see this list of presidents on Wikipedia? Scroll down to the bottom to see what I’m talking about.

Generation Y Voter Supression

Okay guys, one last post before I get ready to go out and hit up some election night parties. According to Future Majority, a series of fake emails and text messages have been going out to young voters, particularly on college campuses:

A George Mason University student forwards over a pair of emails that went out to the student body of the Virginia school:


—–Original Message—–
From: ANNOUNCE04-L on behalf of Office of the Provost
Sent: Tue 11/4/2008 1:16 AM
Subject: Election Day Update

To the Mason Community:

Please note that election day has been moved to November 5th. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause you.

Peter N. Stearns

And then:

—–Original Message—–
From: Office of the Provost on behalf of Office of the Provost
Sent: Tue 11/4/2008 8:08 AM
Subject: Urgent Voting Information

Dear Colleagues,

It has come to my attention early this morning that a message was hacked into the system fraudulently stating that election day has been moved. I am sure everybody realizes this is a hoax, it is also a serious offense and we are looking into it. Please be reminded that election day is today, November 4th.

Peter N. Stearns

From Future Majority via Politico.

As they say in the article, it’s VERY unlikely this will really fool anyone, but it’s also a testament to the importance of the youth vote…this has to be the first time younger voters have been targeted in this way in recent years.

Well, that’s all for tonight folks. If you’re going out, be safe out there. If you’re staying in, try not to have too many shots for every state Obama wins 🙂 Instead, slow down and try focusing on the swing states!

Obama sez: Brothers need to pull up their pants


Not really about the election, but, pretty amusing. Obama does not support laws that criminalize sagging pants, but he thinks it’s not a good look on brothas.

From The New York Times:

“We should be focused on creating jobs, improving our schools, health care, dealing with the war in Iraq, and anybody, any public official, that is worrying about sagging pants probably needs to spend some time focusing on real problems out there.”

“Brothers should pull up their pants,” he said. “You are walking by your mother, your grandmother, your underwear is showing. What’s wrong with that? Come on.”

Well said.

As of 11:31 AM Eastern Standard Time

nearly 1.4 million people on Facebook have voted. Remember that these are those young Generation Y Voters that everyone loves to talk about.

Let’s Go!

I Voted.


The picture above is of some friends and me right before we went to canvass in Chantilly, Virginia for Obama. I have to say that the outlook is pretty promising–everyone I talked to was an Obama supporter. But of course, it ain’t over til it’s over.

I have a range of emotions right now. I was very hurt when I found out that Obama’s grandmother, Madelyn Dunham, had passed away. Then it really hit me when I logged onto Jack and Jill Politics and saw this. At the same time, I am hopeful that after tonight, we may very well have our first Black President of the United States of America. I am nervous, because I remember what happened in 2004. I am anxious, because after 21 long months I’m just ready for it to be over.

I also would be remiss if I didn’t say how inspiring it is to see my people united for a cause. I don’t know if we have seen this kind of unity since the Civil Rights Movement. I love the pride in my people’s voice when they say they’ve voted or when they tell me they voted early. At the polls today, I saw single moms with their children, buppies with their fraternity bags and their suits, the homboys from the corner I see every day. It almost brought a tear to my eye.

A few things:

  • So most of you have heard that Obama won in Dixville Notch, NH. Yes, it is a small town but it is the first time it has gone to a Democrat since Humphrey. FiveThirtyEight says this means nothing and it is NOT predictive but hey, we’d rather be up 15-6 than down, right?
  • Stereohyped is asking for your election stories….so send ’em on over!
  • Jack and Jill Politics has a great video on protecting your right to vote, including what to bring and do at the poll
  • I might have a guest blogger this week or next…stay tuned.