4100 Redwood Rd #406
Oakland, CA 94619

So We Might See

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Budget

Raised to date: $170,000.00
Estimate to complete: $65,000.00
Total Estimated Budget: $235,000.00
The budget numbers above are accurate as of 05/01/2009

Key Personnel

Rev. J. Bennett Guess
Executive Director

Rev. Guess is Director of Communications for the United Church of Christ, which encompasses the So We Might See project Rev. Guess possesses both a journalism degree and a seminary doctorate, and has eight years of communications experience at the UCC, including editor of United Church News, and 12 years of experience serving as local church pastor.  Since taking over the helm of United Church News in 2003, Guess has won more than 60 journalistic awards and citations.

Rev. Guess holds a number of leadership position within the faith community and among religious communicators.  Specifically, Guess is chair of the news and media relations committee of the National Council of Churches Communications Commission; a member of the board of governors of the Religion Communicators Council; and a member of Associated Church Press and the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association.

He is a graduate of University of Kentucky School of Journalism (1988), and began his career as a journalist for The Daily News in Bowling Green, Ky. Feeling called to both social policy and ministry, he studied Public Administration and Policy at Western Kentucky University and Murray State University, and also enrolled full time at Vanderbilt University Divinity School in Nashville. He received his M. Div. degree in 1991, and completed a D.Min. in preaching from Chicago Theological Seminary in 2001.

Funders

NameAmountDate
Ford Foundation$100,000.0004/15/2009
Media Democracy Fund$40,000.0001/01/2009
Otto Haas Trust$15,000.0008/31/2008

Short Synopsis

So We Might See (SWMS) is an interfaith media reform coalition that will enable the faith community to create a new awareness of the importance of media reform to achieving a socially just world. 

Description/Treatment

The goal of SWMS is to provide an on-going structure that will encourage and enable people of faith, working through their houses of worship, to understand and advocate around media justice issues.  SWMS will provide tools to enable its members to learn about media justice easily, share information within their memberships, and demonstrate their value to members through innovative campaigns and advocacy. 

SWMS will:

  • Develop an ecumenical, interfaith web site to act as the hub of the coalition.  The web site will link to the four on-line campaigns and offer information and support about a range of media justice issues.
  • Conduct four exciting, innovative electronic advocacy materials linking media justice and social justice per year.

In 2009, the four SWMS campaigns will be:

  1. Bring Betty Broadband – June 2009. Access to high speed internet is an essential part of our economic recovery and a way for people of all demographic backgrounds to access learning, government services, and job-skills.
  2. Internet Freedom – Summer 2009. Just as everyone needs access to the Internet no matter their background, the Internet must be free from corporate or government control so that people of all backgrounds and beliefs can freely disseminate their ideas.
  3. Media Violence Fast – October 2009.  This year’s fast from media violence will explore the connections between media and real-world hate crimes and violence against immigrants.
  4. Anti-Commercialization – December 2009.  Just as many faiths try to focus on giving and a higher spiritual message, the marketing industry focuses on purchases above all else.  This campaign will help to counteract the emphasis on consumerism during this time of year, with a focus on the impact on children.
In addition to on-line advocacy and learning, each campaign will have elements that can be conducted by individuals or houses of worship directly.  These elements will include:
  • Sermon notes, children’s activities, and adult education materials, among others.
  • Involving local clergy and lay leaders through an advisory committee.  These local leaders will learn more in-depth about the chosen topics of the campaigns as well as create materials that other leaders and participants can use. 
  • Identifying which participant denominations require additional policy statement to support the work of the denomination in the media justice arena. 
  • Members of So We Might See will also issue joint press releases, letters and other documents to influence the policy process and educate the public.

Without media justice, there will be no social justice!

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