Talk about deadlines!
The articles written by Pamela Brown, Sandra Colón, and Lillie Powell were for the most part based on interviews done during a 'one hour' workshop given by me and by David Kirsh of The Prism.
I say 'one hour' in quotes because in reality, after a late start and a little bit of discussion and introduction, we really had about 30-40 minutes to take people who had never even heard of the Prism to have the core of an article written by the workshop's end.
Pamela, Sandra, and Lillie each received one question which had been prepared in advance (time was quite short, you know) to use to interview three other people, Will Atwater (who had led the previous hour's workshop), Wendy Malkowski and Dale Walker.
After fifteen or so minutes they exchanged notes and reviewed / edited each other's work.
A couple of weeks later I had worked their interview notes into articles, and sent drafts out for everyone to review.
The whole exercise went very well. Dale, Lillie, Pamela, Sandra, Wendy, and Will did all the work.
Our participants really enjoyed being directly involved with the newspaper, even with as little warning as there was. When I talked to Lillie a few weeks after the workshop, she said that she found the workshop very meaningful and that the experience helped her in some of her classes at community college. Other conference attendees commanded us to send them copies of this issue.
I really feel lucky that the NC Hunger Network invited David and me to hold a workshop. Shirley McClain, Renee Price, and everyone else at the Network deserve a lot of credit (as well as money and volunteers!) for doing such an amazing job of pulling together all those who came to the conference. My thanks to them.
People from many communities, especially lower-income communities, often not only have a hard time getting their points of view into newspapers and magazines, they often have a hard time even imagining anyone would want to listen to what they have to say.
This workshop taught us a good deal about helping people who aren't used to writing for any paper, much less this one, to feel a little bit more comfortable about doing so.
And isn't that the purpose of an activist newspaper? To help people to be active?
Newspapers and newsletters like this exist to remind people that it's better for ordinary people to think, speak, and write for themselves instead of just trying to figure out what's true from the daily TV news shows.
Thank you so much for your reporting work, Lillie, Pamela, and Sandra. Keep at it no matter where you are.
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