DFY received at special Green Room event prior to Green Screen V

December 1, 2011

DETROIT -- With several of their member organizations submitting entries for the Fifth Annual Green Screen Youth Environmental Film Festival, Detroit Future Youth came together for their November gathering with a special Green Room reception to examine local environmental justice issues at the Plymouth United Church of Christ on November 17. Approximately 60 youth and community members representing the 12 organizations of the DFY Network came out to a special dinner prior to Green Screen and to take part in a series of EJ specific workshops.

I thought the event went very well,” said DFY Coordinator Alia Harvey-Quinn. “One of Detroit Future Youth's goals is to foster inter-sectional movement building across social, media and environmental justice issues. So, I am very pleased that Green Room activities were meant to introduce people to environmental justice and to the work of EMEAC. I hope organizations that don't explicitly do environmental justice work are now beginning to see how it is inherently relevant to their mission and incorporate environmental justice work into the work of their organizations.”

Green Room participants rotated between three workshop presentations given by EMEAC staff. The workshops were the Recycle Relay, which looked at the benefits of curbside recycling in the city; the Tap Water Challenge, which is a taste test questioning the belief that bottled water is superior to tap water; and the Flip Camera Shuffle, which focuses on empowering community members to make their own media and tell their own stories. 

“It’s always a great learning experience to work with DFY and it was energizing to host this event and give them a chance to get a closer look at the work we are doing here at EMEAC,” said EMEAC’s ReMedia Program Coordinator Patrick Geans-Ali. “The Green Room event kind of set the tone for what turned out to be our most successful Green Screen to date. The contributions to this year’s lineup by the Ruth Ellis Center, Detroit Summer, The Five Elements Gallery and The Heru played a big part in making it so.”

Both EMEAC and DFY are looking to build on their collaborations around youth media justice issues going forward. The opportunity to introduce EMEAC’s comprehensive approach to environmental justice, which includes all aspects of urban and rural environments as it relates to the human impact those environments have on people, allows for greater collaboration with all organizations concerned with social justice issues. 

“While there was definitely a significant DFY presence in the Green Screen lineup, I think many more DFY organizations could have entered,” Harvey-Quinn said. “Over half of the organizations in DFY create films with their youth. However, I don't think all of them felt like their films were 'green' enough to be in the film festival. 

“The fact is -- the vast majority of films created by DFY organizations deal with injustice, be it educational, economic or social, and many of these injustices would not exist if the setting was five miles north of Detroit. Even though we have explained the fact that that environmental justice work is broader than the physical work of bettering the natural environment, I think events like the Green Screen, which did feature environmental justice films that weren't solely about the physical environment, are now bringing that fact home for many people.”

The Green Room event closed with EMEAC Executive Director Diana Copeland and Associate Director Ahmina Maxey presenting a comprehensive look at EMEAC’s work in Southeast Michigan. Green Room also featured a live Twitter feed where attendees could tweet about the evenings events.

“I thought the event went really well.  The turnout was really great with lots of DFY organizations present,” Maxey said. “It was exciting to have the opportunity to share the work EMEAC does with so many Detroit youth, and also to hear their ideas and feedback as they learned about environmental justice.  In addition, I think having a live twitter feed during the event was a fun way to include social media in our work.  Using the website monitter.com we were able to send live feed tweets at hashtags #greenscreen and #D_FY during the workshop.  

“I would like to just thank Alia, Ilana (Weaver), Kim (Sherobi), Charity (Hicks), Diana, Sanaa (Nia-Joy), Patrick, Roger (Boyd), Siwatu (Salama-Ra), Alisha (Deen-Steindler), Paris (Smith), Raven (Roberts), Adrienne (Brown), and Angela (Newsom) for making the Green Room such a success!  But really, the Green Room is a great event that as an organization we can really use again.  The Recycle Relay, Tap Water Challenge, and Flip Camera Shuffle are great introductions to our three programs.”