June 3, 2020
Your safety, health, and well-being have been much on the minds of the MCS faculty, especially in recent days, when the challenges posed by the pandemic and economic crisis have been exacerbated and at times eclipsed by the horrific killings of Black men and women by police officers across the country. The protests that followed, the policing of those protests, and their representation across various media platforms have brought out the very best and the very worst in our society.
We’d like to take this difficult moment to share our support for the USM Statement on Injustice. It is a statement of what brings us together as a community that we can all be proud of.
We’d also like to remind you of the importance of your training in critical media literacy, history, and theory. You are sophisticated and thoughtful consumers and producers of media. You have learned to be wary of dubious sources, to reflect on the broader media narratives being spun by different producers. And you have been trained to think about the various ways sophisticated media messages are encoded and decoded by audiences in different social contexts.
For those of you who are overwhelmed by the pain and violence and seeming hopelessness of the present situation, we remind you of the necessity of self-care (which can be a radical act in and of itself). This might take the form of more engagement with media and other networks of information-sharing, or less. For those of you who come to this crisis from a place of relative privilege, we believe that often, the most powerful communication tool of all is listening.