Three Next Gen students made their radio debut last month on KALW’s Your Call program, hosted by Rose Aguilar. The discussion was candid, with students touching on the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement, their own experiences interacting with the police, and how young people have plenty to contribute to social justice movements.
Day-Day, a BUMP Records artist, shared her family’s story of losing a cousin in a police shooting and that she has a deeply personal and emotional connection to the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement. She mentioned that her family has been resilient in the face of tragedy, and she will not just stand around and let more family members get hurt. Day-Day also discussed her frequent experiences of being racially profiled on public transit due to her eccentric outfits.
Bernard, a BUMP Records producer, offered insightful commentary on how the movement could expand to ‘All Lives Matter’ and cross over to other minorities affected by police brutality. He mentioned that he was raised to believe that the police are good, but now is starting to question that assumption because so many more police accountability issues are coming to light. Bernard also described how his ethnic studies teacher at Balboa High School changed his perspective. The class was taught with an emphasis on solidarity and honoring native roots. Bernard complimented the teacher for promoting community building and ancestral awareness.
Jen, a video game designer in G:URL Gamers, noted how she was aware of the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement, but the issues it was raising were not being discussed at her high school in San Francisco. She has witnessed racial profiling on public transit which has inspired her to use her video game design skills for political activism. She is interested in designing a simulation game to bridge segregation that frequently happens in various urban communities.
Callers overwhelmingly agreed with the students. One caller, in particular, responded with an emotional testimony. She conveyed her disappointment with a youth summit held in Sacramento for lacking community representation. Family members who had lost loved ones to police brutality were only given a few minutes to speak with legislators. Another caller praised KALW and the students for humanizing the ‘Black Lives Matter’ issues and offering their critical perspective.
Day-Day concluded the conversation by stating that her community is tired and unable to maintain peace without justice. She voiced her desire for more ‘Black Lives Matter’ protests in the Bay Area. Bernard rebutted with “Don’t raise the guns, raise the pencil.” Even though Bernard and Day-Day offered different approaches to addressing these problems, it was compelling to hear the students contemplate visions of peace and cohesiveness. Jen intuitively agreed that violence is not an effective way of protesting. She hopes to use her skills in digital game design to create a narrative game in which users can travel through diverse neighborhoods and develop a stronger sense of community.
BAVC Media is proud of the students for applying the skills learned in Next Gen, and braving the broadcast airwaves to voice their opinions. All three students were professional and collaborative. BAVC Media supports all forms of expressions, and appreciates KALW for offering a welcoming platform for young people to have their voices and perspectives heard by a wide, broad audience.