I've known of Media Island for at least 20 years, and have been invited to participate in the organization in the past (including having been asked to be on the board) but never felt drawn to the space until after leaving Olympia for over a decade and returning to find it in the hands of new leadership. The organization has become more focused on the goals and leadership of women of color - specifically Black women - in the Olympia area. While some people in this historically white liberal community may find this alienating, there are many of us who see this as a sign of hope, since Black women are among the most targeted in our communities, and most in need of spaces where their needs, desires and visions are centered. I have loved all of the workshops, meetings and events that I have attended at Media Island in the past year, and found it refreshing to find a space in Olympia that is not just giving lip service to inclusion or diversity, but actually centering the needs of those who are most impacted by the harmful legacies of racism, sexism, and colonialism. I am happy to support the work and vision of Media Island International, and look forward to seeing what grows there.
Media Island International is a cultural, educational, and networking center that centers women of color to provide vital community services including trainings, teach-backs, speakers, and film screenings as well as supporting partnerships with other organizations and communities, locally and internationally. I have been familiar with MII for about 15 years and have recently become really excited for the work of the organization and space it holds in our community. This past winter, I attended a talk by Afro-Puerto Rican activist Rosa Clemente and was grateful that MII worked with other organizations to help bring her to our city. At a recent fundraiser for artists of color, I enjoyed the welcoming atmosphere, the incredible performances and visual art, and as a white person, I appreciated the invitation to pay reparations within my own community. The Women of Color in Leadership Movement and KOWA 106.5 grassroots community radio are also housed at MII. I’ve really noticed how the new leadership within this organization is tending the space so well, from the vibrant gardens to the warm welcoming and tidy office and meeting space. I’m excited for the future of Media Island International!
I remember Media Island when I attended The Evergreen State College from 2011-2014. The place didn't have the best reputation at the time. I attended a few shows and events there but was turned off by the drug use and creepy vibe. Some of my female friends were reluctant to go because of allegations of sexual assault, including from some of the leadership. I stayed away after not even a year.
I moved back to the area a couple years ago and decided to revisit Media Island when a friend of mine hosted an event there in early 2018, and it was like walking into a completely different place. The drug use and sketchy activities are all gone and there's a much better vibe to the place. It encouraged me to start checking out events there again and so far every one has been a blast! Speakers, shows, workshops, all kinds of things!
I'm not sure what Bruce is referring to because I've seen people of all kinds of different backgrounds pass through in my brief time going to events again and they're hosting things every month. And KOWA, the low-power progressive radio station, still operates 24 hours a day and airs programs covering a range of topics. Think Democracy Now, Women's Magazine, Pacifica Radio, National Native News, and too many more to list. Seems like an odd review and I can't help but wonder if it's personally motivated if he was involved during the drug and sexual assault days.
This non-profit has had a hostile takeover 2 of the 4 board members were kicked off after a total purge of former volunteers. It now is a shell of it's former self getting about a quarter of events, a small fraction of radio projects and a shrunken diversity of people and issues generally. It also is always asking for more and more money without results or transparency or accountability. Meanwhile they cry victimhood. I was involved for a decade and am sad at the situation. I hope it gets sorted but in the meantime this is not a group to donate to.
Media Island has supported countless other projects through fiscal sponsorships, providing space, and by promoting a networking philosophy of supporting existing efforts rather than only our own. The larger issue of media control by corporations affects most other issues. Media Island has tried to tie under-reporting of issues to the conflicts of interest underlying media ownership and interlocking directorships.