2021 Year End Reflection

Updated: Dec 28, 2021

It is hard to believe that one year has passed since our Executive Director and force of nature, Marieli Rowe passed. And, yet, here we are. To say that she is missed would be an understatement, there are many times over the course of the year that I have wanted to reach for the phone and call her. She was my Sunday call on my drives home from visiting my Mom and sometimes my weeknight call when I was driving home from the university. It was on those long car rides that she shared her aspirations. She never stopped dreaming and it was all about growing the work of media literacy and the community around it. Karen and I are working hard to make those aspirations come true.

Beginning in January, we created a plan, combining Marieli’s ideas with our own vision for where this organization could go, and then convened an amazing collection of seasoned and new voices in the field to help us shape the vision further. We don’t always agree and that is all a part of the process of growing, networking, and designing a space that is open to various thinkers. We are open to the possibilities and that is the source of where we see the growth.

Throughout the course of the year, the bridge that is signified in our logo became more meaningful as many other conversations started to happen. Our first advisory council, our board meetings, and the number of people who have reached out to us through email and other social media have all culminated into some amazing connections and ideas –some of which will be put into place in the coming year. More importantly, it has been an honor to share in the growing community and see the possibilities.

Here are some of the highlights from this year:

  • Our website was relaunched with our new name and added community. As well as giving us a solid place for where our work will be exhibited, it also will provide ways for people to contribute to the mission and work. This part is what makes the space come alive. We want to thank our board members in particular Serene Arena and Hannah Connor for helping us to do just that.

  • Our blog has taken off and there will be many more posts from both professionals and students. Hannah, a senior at Macalester College in Minnesota, was our star summer blogger, and continued to do it while in classes. Board and Council members have helped to share their voices. We welcome others in our communities to offer their thoughts and ideas in this space.

  • The next journal on Algorithmic Justice is in production with Melda Yildiz and myself at the helm. In reality, the helm is held up by so many of the voices who are contributing their thoughts and ideas.

  • Our first network meeting was a success, with others planned in the coming year. It helped us to frame ourselves differently as we are not a membership organization, but a network that builds upon community. This idea brings us back to what Marieli wanted - a circle of friends supporting and building upon each other’s successes.

  • We are launching the first Marieli Rowe Innovation in Media Literacy Education Award. Her family is so pleased to see this happen in her honor. The monetary award will go to support an innovative project or work that moves the field forward. We need everyone’s help to promote the application for this award far and wide, among diverse audiences.

  • The first award will be presented at the International Media Literacy Research Symposium which will be held in Madison, Wisconsin on June 27 & 28, 2022. A wonderful tribute to our roots in Wisconsin, it will serve as an opportunity to open dialogue further on various media literacy issues within the international community. We hope that many of you will be able to join us.

There was much more that happened behind the scenes as Karen and I met weekly to ensure that our work continues. We couldn’t do this without the ongoing dedication and the outstanding contributions freely given by the many professionals, leaders, teachers, and concerned citizens; And By You!

In your role as one of these, we value your participation, your support, and as always—your ideas, suggestions and comments. If you would like to make a contribution to fund our work, please do so at our website or contact us directly. We look forward to your contribution and your input.

With that we wanted to take this time and close out the year wishing you all a wonderful holiday season. We look forward to the New Year of exciting new possibilities and the hopes of seeing many of you in person.

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