Media Reparations as the Way Forward

Venneikia Williams
Let's Gather
Published in
3 min readDec 14, 2021

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Gather. Organize. Mobilize.

In a conversation introduced to the Gather community, the following question was posed: If given the opportunity to craft the reality you’d like to see, how would you shape this world? Who and what are the things that would be present in this new world we will construct?

We do have said opportunity. The way things are are not the way they have to be. We, the people, have the power necessary to shift and transform the systems that no longer (or never have) worked for us. This work begins with media reparations.

What is media reparations?

As defined by our Media 2070 team:

noun. The acknowledgement and repair of media’s systemic anti-Black harms.

verb. Redistributing power and resources to realize a future in which Black people control their own stories and narratives from ideation through production and distribution.

Why media reparations?

The media system touches every single part of our lives, consciously and unconsciously. There are constant stories, true and untrue, that surround us in various mediums. These narratives rearrange how we live, move and have our being in the public commons. Print journalism, public radio, televised news and more are supposed to give the common person an accurate, unbiased retelling of current events locally and globally. While this is what newsrooms and media makers are supposed to do, our 100-page essay chronicles how white supremacy and racial capitalism have informed and fueled our media system.

How do we win media reparations?

We recognize that the fight for reparations broadly, and within the media system specifically, will not happen immediately. There is a cycle in which this process happens:

Reckoning, Acknowledgement, Accountability and Redress.

What else is needed for media reparations?

  1. We must reject the myth of Black inferiority, popularized by white media outlets. We must allow Black media makers to design and distribute our own stories that show our full humanity.
  2. We must stop putting the power that belongs to the people into the hands of large corporations and institutions that have never served Black people and communities of color.
  3. These institutions must begin to reckon with their histories of anti-Black harm and violence. They must go past public apologies into making strides toward repair.
  4. We must build reparative funds that support new, emerging, radical media makers.
  5. We need think tanks, collaborative dream spaces like Gather to workshop our ideas in.

Join Media 2070 and our partners on this journey towards a truly just media system.

Venneikia Williams (she/her) is the campaign manager for Media 2070, a media reparations project. She also served as Gather’s Takeover Guest Curator for the month of November. For further questions, she can be reached via email: vwilliams@freepress.net

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