The problems we face as a country are legion. Almost daily the public is inundated with harrowing news of gun violence, racial antagonism, political infighting, police misconduct, widespread criminalization, sexual assault and much else. Social critique is common and sharp analyses of entrenched inequities are replete.
But there are the stories we choose to tell in media and those we ignore. It's easy to locate media accounts highlighting social ills, but less available are narratives of progress and transformation. Mic's newest original series, The Movement, is an attempt to fill in the gap.
As host of The Movement, I explore the social issues impacting marginalized communities, from the relationship between police and the communities they serve to food disparities on Native American reservations.
Rather than solely and overly focusing on the social, political and economic concerns plaguing these communities, we've chosen to focus on the work of the unsung heroes who are working to bring an end to systemic inequity and injustice across the country. The people and groups we cover are change agents tackling big issues in real time — sometimes with sparse resources — without the benefit of large social media followings, public recognition and large platforms.
With each story we want to push viewers to reconsider whom we laud as heroes and which types of activists' work represents the most interesting and optimistic social movements in the United States.
The stories we've chosen to amplify tend to be underreported. For example, much has been written about the seemingly lacking response to the misinformed notion of "black-on-black crime" — despite research that suggests intraracial violence within black communities is no less extraordinary than the violence perpetuated within other racialized communities. But little acknowledgement has been given to the countless individuals and groups who have been at the forefront of violence prevention in black neighborhoods. In my hometown of Camden, New Jersey, Cure4Camden is one such group. It's a city-federal partnership helping people get their lives back on track.
The legalization of marijuana in states like Colorado has generated profound media buzz. But as Wanda James, the co-owner of the only black-owned marijuana dispensary in Colorado, tells us, the public is probably unaware that the people who were most at risk for criminalization for marijuana use and dealing have yet to financially benefit from the legalization of the same industry that once caused devastation in their communities.
If there is a social movement underway in the United States, it is because of the many people and groups — well and lesser known — engaging the work, people whose stories have yet to be covered. We plan to travel across the country in search of these muted narratives because we know it's just as easy to lose sight of progress in social movements when the consequences of widespread injustice seem to almost always blot out the audacious work of those on the frontlines.
I invite you to join our community of viewers. Be inspired by The Movement, and check out this teaser from season one.