The Big Bang of Collective Action: The Behaviors of Values
This is part of “The Big Bang of Collective Action”, a nonlinear list essay by me, Jason Wyman, Impact Producer for The Alliance for Media Arts and Culture. It captures in its simple complexity the breadth of The Alliance’s Youth Media Collective Action Initiative.
Each “bullet” in the list contains both a visual code and a story. Some stories are metaphor. Some are poetry. Others are summaries. And even one is a worksheet. It is my humble attempt to synthesize the collective and manifest its wisdom in the form that works best for that collective wisdom.
“The Big Bang of Collective Action” is meant to be read in whatever manner moves you. At the end of this post is a visual table of contents. Click whichever CODE catches your eye or makes you want to click.
And please know, “ The Big Bang of Collective Action” is also a tool. It is meant to be used. So please interact with it by clicking links, leaving a comment, sharing it with a friend, sketching an idea, recording a video response, and/ or writing your own post.
A guiding assumption needs to be named here: If we are to be a sector supporting ALL voices, perspectives, bodies, and experiences with a centering on those pushed to economic margins, there are ethics and values that must be named in order to cultivate / facilitate that inclusion. Ethics and values are not intangible concepts. They are demonstrated through behaviors, and these behaviors have cultural, geographic, gendered, and developmental (age) origins / roots. We must have a process to help us define [and redefine] those behaviors, ethics, and values.
For The Alliance’s Youth Media Collective Action Initiative, we put our money behind our values. Both Myah Overstreet and I are compensated at an equal rate of pay multiplied by the estimated hours we are able to put into the Initiative. As Myah is a Sophomore at San Francisco State, her estimated hours are lower than mine. Her “hourly wage”, however, is not.
This compensation model matters because it fosters balance between the multiple experiences people bring into this kind of work. We are a field working “in service to” people economically marginalized — youth and young adults. Since I am not a youth or young adult AND since we want to BE the change we want (and not just say it), we need to financially model what that looks like.
Financial compensation is only a part of that equation. Leadership and decision-making are the other. While Myah has fewer hours to contribute to the work, she does not have less power in the overall development of the Youth Media Collective Action Initiative. Her hands / voice / experiences shape all aspects of it, and it is a joint partnership between Wendy Levy, Myah, and me to ensure it thrives.
By being this change, we model the behaviors of our values.
Additionally, The Alliance’s Youth Media Collective Action Initiative is developing a process / tool to help us further define / refine the ethics and values of the broader field. More on that to come!