Free Events! Whose Stories? Who Tells Them? Series Begins January 19

bee-luther-hatchee

*The following events are presented in connection with the play Bee-luther-hatchee, which runs at Sierra Madre Playhouse from January 13 through February 18.

Whose Stories? Who Tells Them? Is a series of five panel discussions on Writers and Diversity, presented on five consecutive Thursday nights at 7:00 p.m., starting on January 19. The panels will be held at different venues (see below) and all events in the series will be free to the public.

Diane Siegel, Curator of Special Programs for Sierra Madre Playhouse, states, ?The play Bee-luther-hatchee by Thomas Gibbons is a story of writers and writing, stories that deserve to be told, and the issue of who is best to tell them.? The play provokes discussion on race, identity, and the power of writing. Sierra Madre Playhouse is presenting these panels in the community to provide a broader stage for discussion of issues raised in Gibbons’ play.

Storytellers working across several genres including fiction writing, journalism, social media, drama and poetry will focus on the challenges of creating authentic voices and the danger of cultural appropriation. These issues reach beyond the theater and by holding these panels we hope to provide room for discussion that perhaps can lead to dialogue. We are at a unique time in history and discussion of these themes and the power of writing seems crucial to supporting civil discourse in a time of increasing polarization.? Continue reading

How Social Media Played a Role in the 2016 Presidential Election

social-media-1405601_960_720Social media is a powerful force. So powerful, in fact, that it was able to help the presidential candidates make waves during the election.

Twitter, in particular, was a veritable battleground for the nominees and their supporters. In 140 characters or less, one candidate or the other could influence a whole movement. Social media has become so integrated into everyday life that 17% of crowdfunding donations are seen through social media and then made through mobile devices.

The power of social media has already been proven. With hashtags like #blacklivesmatter and #yesallwomen starting social movements — which are still standing strong — it’s hard to dispute the power of the Internet’s interconnected-ness.

The way Clinton and Trump used Twitter is demonstrative of how a single social media message can be used to reach countless people across a nation and even around the world. The 2016 presidential election used this frequently, and candidates could often be seen taking to Twitter, Facebook, and even Snapchat to reach their followers and raise awareness.

Hashtags only served to fuel the fire, quite literally. Phrases like #Hillaryforprison and #dumpTrump flooded the Internet, demonstrating just how heated this election cycle truly was.

“We’ve reached a point where social media has really kind of reinforced existing divisions and maybe made them worse,” said University of Wisconsin professor of life sciences communication Dietram Scheufele.

President Obama used social media to effectively raise awareness for his campaigns in 2008 and 2012, but this election cycle has brought a new form of viciousness to social media and politics.

There has certainly never been a campaign quite like Trump’s, in which single tweets were turned into national news stories.

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