College Media Association stands in solidarity with the Black community in calling for an end to systemic racism. Police and other institutions continue to disenfranchise, brutalize and murder Black people in this country after hundreds of years of subjugation. We must lend our voices and actions to demand one thing: This must end.
In recent years, CMA’s board and Diversity & Inclusion Committee members have worked to be a source of new programming, online resources and frank discussion. Some of our work is behind the scenes, making CMA more reflective of every voice — be it on a convention panel, at a social hour or online. In the past, members created and CMA sponsored the 2016 Summit on Diversity and Inclusion in College Media as well as spearheading planning for more diverse speakers and topics at our national conventions. In recent months, we have worked on a variety of initiatives, including:
- Creating an Organizational Pinnacle Award for Best Diversity Coverage
- Developing a new Diversity and Inclusion Certificate program for advisers we plan to launch within the next year
- Developing a named adviser award related to diversity.
Yet to stand in true solidarity, we must do more. These transgressions are not new to the last few weeks. We recognize that our membership of color has educated, advocated and called out our organization for many years on issues of racism, ableism, homophobia, misogyny and transphobia. This statement is long overdue.
We must face the whiteness of CMA and our profession, and seek to train our members in inclusive behaviors with existing advisers/students. We must acknowledge the history of biased journalism and underrepresentation in media that often ignores groups and voices and even weaponizes their experiences. We must ensure that we are providing the proper education for the next generation of journalists and content creators to be both compassionate and culturally competent.
We must all ask ourselves, for whom are we making space? What can we change? How can we amplify Black voices? How can we make Black lives, voices and stories matter each and every day?
The College Media Association board pledges to take the following initial actions:
- Review all board positions and infuse responsibility for diversity, inclusion and equity into all positions by Aug. 1
- Define an expanded Diversity and Inclusion Code effective Aug. 1
- Review and incorporate diversity, inclusion and anti-racism as well as other -isms across our Code of Ethics for Advisers and ‘What Is An Adviser?’ statements
- Seek to create written MOUs with each of the national journalism organizations dedicated to representing minoritized communities by the end of AY21
We ask our membership to join us in moving our organization forward in the spirit of equity. Reach out to board members if you need assistance in your education. Engage with the Diversity & Inclusion Committee’s efforts and programming. Support and uplift Black and other advisers and students from underrepresented groups daily.
Right now, many of our students are covering protests and other stories that have great impact on marginalized groups. Now more than ever, our students need to receive active and nuanced mentorship that demonstrates our understanding of the complex reasons behind the protests and protester actions. We need to remember that our students aren’t just reporters; their lived experiences outside of the newsroom are even more important. CMA is here to help and will share resources and opportunities so that we can learn from each other.
CMA is committed to becoming an anti-racist organization that models the principles of equity and inclusion. In the coming weeks and months, we will devote more time and resources to discerning how we have been complicit in supporting unjust practices, how we can contribute to dismantling systemic racism, and how we can more effectively support Black media students and advisers, as well as other media professionals/advisers of color.