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Lifting The Voices of Black Media Makers

Tracy Gunapalan

LIFT Project Team at The Sankofa 2022 Event

Members of the LIFT project were invited to speak at the 2022 Sankofa Event which was hosted at Macalester College this past Saturday. The event, titled “Perilous Times: Defending and Defining The Spirit of Black Media," was the fifth annual Sankofa Series event organized by local non-profit, In Black Ink.

The panel featured Dr. Danielle K. Brown, Cowles Professor of Journalism, Diversity and Equality in the Hubbard School of Journalism at the University of Minnesota, and Daniel Bergin, executive producer at Twin Cities PBS. Both panelists spoke about the importance of engaging with Black media but also pointed out the need to support Black media professionals who are working within predominantly white publications.

“We need to think about our Black brothers and sisters who are making a difference within these white systems,” said Brown. Bergin echoed the same sentiment, noting that his role at PBS has allowed him to bring stories centered around marginalized communities to a larger audience. 

The discussion also addressed larger issues of trust between the Black community and local news media as well as the ways in which Black media organizations have stepped in to fill the gaps in mainstream news coverage. 

The rest of the afternoon featured live music from acapella group Sing-Hers as well as roundtable discussions facilitated by youth volunteers from In Black Ink. 

 In Black Ink, based in St. Paul, is dedicated to creating space in the literary arts where people of African heritage can have their work celebrated and documented through publications, training opportunities and public presentations. Every year, they host the Sankofa Series, an intergenerational forum where critical and relevant issues concerning the community are discussed.

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