Since the beginning of the school year, four afternoons a week, the labs here at BAVC Media have been humming with the sounds of Next Gen students at work: editing together interviews recorded for their podcasts, adding green screen effects to their personal documentaries and coding interactive features for their websites. Even though graduation is quickly approaching, we’re so excited to announce that the hum we’ve all become so accustomed to won’t be quieting for the summer. Instead, students have the opportunity to put their industry-standard production skills and understanding of social justice frameworks, honed through our project-based curriculum, to work in partnership with The Anti-Eviction Mapping Project (A(E)MP).
The Anti Eviction Mapping Project is a data-visualization, data analysis, and storytelling collective documenting the dispossession of San Francisco Bay Area residents in the wake of the current tech boom. I first got connected to collective members at last year’s Allied Media Conference in Detroit. When I saw their map showing youth displacement, I knew I needed to begin talking about gentrification with our students.
Once the conversation got going, I learned that many of our students have been directly or indirectly impacted by the very processes A(E)MP seeks to document; some of our students have themselves been forced to relocate, while many more have seen it happen to friends, family members or neighbors. Most noted demographic changes they’ve witnessed first-hand: for example, no longer recognizing the owners or patrons of neighborhood businesses they’ve frequented for their whole lives. One student shared: “Gentrification has not yet, but I’m scared it will come to my community.”
This is the first time that students from all tracks will have the opportunity to work together on their Summer Social Action Projects. From June-August, Next Gen students will be collaborating with A(E)MP coordinators to create another map of the SF Bay Area detailing the spaces that continue to welcome and support young people, even as so many others have become inaccessible to them. All students will be able to add this experience to their resume and portfolio and students who participated in all three trimesters will receive a stipend from BAVC Media.
This project will compliment a number of others being produced by A(E)MP collective members this summer, highlighted in a recent East Bay Express profile of A(E)MP’s ongoing efforts to document and help forestall displacement.
A(E)MP has been working closely with local housing organizations and East Bay youth through partnerships with Washington High School in Fremont, the Alameda County Office of Education, and the Bay Area Video Coalition youth media program. “Youth are such an important part of the present and future of our cities, and they are heavily impacted by displacement,” said Wojczuk.
Keep checking the BAVC Media blog, and Next Gen’s Twitter account, for details on project development as well as an opportunity to see the finished project alongside other A(E)MP work in September!
If you are interested in volunteering with the Anti Eviction Mapping Project or sharing your own story, please click here or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.