Some people believe we’ve never had a true democracy in the United States. Many claimed the election of Donald Trump as a turning point in its demise. And for everyone that hadn’t gotten there yet, there was January 6. Democracy has since become somewhat of a buzzword.
As storytellers, we play an important role in either aiding in the building up or crashing down of a true multi-racial democracy. So over the next few months at ChangeWire, we’re launching a series People Power: Democracy Stories from the Ground Up.
Two things stand out to me as part of our role as writers, producers, editors, and publishers in standing up democracy: Informing the public and equal representation.
One of the major threats we face is disinformation — which doesn’t always show up as a bold-faced fabrication, but can also rear its head as a status quo narrative that hasn’t been properly explored. The fellows who produce stories for ChangeWire are all from low-income backgrounds, but the dominant narratives around poverty often don’t line up with their real-life experiences. In many cases, it’s not only a misrepresentation of the issues around inequality — but also their absence in the story altogether.
As we publish ‘People Power’ stories from February through May, you’ll learn about the link between full participation and economic justice through stories about food insecurity. Consider how voting isn’t the only way to have your voice heard with reporting on sanitation worker organizing. We’ll debunk your preconceived notions about Southern politics and about technology as ‘the great equalizer.’ You’ll open your eyes to the ways violence can intimidate women from political service.
In a 2019 survey by Pew Research Center, 64% disagreed that elected officials care what people “like them” thought. Another CBS News poll found huge majorities of Americans believed most people don’t have a say because of money in politics.
If there’s one thing we hope you get out of this series, it’s that those who are most impacted by inequality should have a real say in how that story is told.