If you’re reading this and you’re a millennial, you may tend to straddle the fence between carefree recluse and socio-political liberalism. Often times, millennials are accused of being disengaged with the times and locked into some app or viral video instead. Here’s a millennial who proves he’s not disengaged. Meet Darnell L. Moore, a journalist and activist bringing in 2016 with a new digital series on Mic.com called The Movement.
The new show is dedicated to the individuals who fight to reclaim and recover marginalized communities across America. Each episode is about eight minutes long, packed with insightful stories about remarkable everyday people. One of two episodes shown at a recent pre-screening was the story of a man from Camden, New Jersey, striving to get people out of the drug game and off the streets, into a program focused around “healing Camden” with the Inner Harbor Project. The project’s initiatives include training police officers on how to engage young people throughout the city. (The Inner Harbor Project is based in Baltimore. Camden native Darnell Moore traveled to Baltimore in November to film the organization for an episode of The Movement airing February 2.)
He’s opening The Movement series with a bang, directly giving back to his community by starting at the source of his own beginnings—uplifting the people from his ’hood rather than criminalizing them or telling only one side of the story.
It’s critical as a journalist to be unbiased and objective. But it’s also just as important to be conscious and thoughtful in how you tell a sensitive story. Moore opened up the pre-screening event by acknowledging his production team, friends and family for their creativity and support.
Gushing over his hometown, Moore said, “I tell everybody that I’m from Camden. My context matters. And part of this video series discussion was really about figuring out a way to invite the viewer into my life, and into my context, into my world.
“It’s difficult to talk about home. It gets complicated, because you glamorize home and you want to protect home from viewers who could read home as the ghetto, Black, under-resourced space that the media so loves to paint it as. But at the same time, how can you still talk about the issues in the same streets that your nieces and nephews are walking on?”
Also shown at the pre-screening was the story about Denver restaurateurs Wanda James and Scott Durrah. In 2008, they became the first African Americans to own a dispensary and an edibles business in Colorado. In July 2016, the couple plans to open Simply Pure, a medical and recreational marijuana dispensary and the Simply Pure School of Gourmet Cooking, likely to be the first cannabis cooking school in the nation.
Moore hosted a subsequent Q&A with MSNBC host Janet Mock, engaging a very diverse crowd that included industry friends and colleagues. Fashion queens Bevy Smith and Miss Lawrence popped in to spread love and congrats to their curator friend. The entire evening both directly and indirectly focused on redirecting this narrative of community, social responsibility and “news.”
So soon after the observation of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, it’s particularly refreshing to be reminded of King’s legacy and mission to breathe life and love into service, activism and socio-political vindication.
We all have our own personal ideas of activism and service, but it’s evident from recent social and political events that a large portion of the millennial generation has galvanized and proven strong enough to push through adversity using social media and the power of one collective voice. In the wake of social devastation, program initiatives and social media hashtags such as #SayHerName and #BlackLivesMatter were used to debate issues of misogyny and racial injustice.
Rooted in this activism initiative, Darnell L. Moore’s The Movement highlights positive stories in marginalized communities, the stories that aren’t being covered by the media that go unaddressed on the campaign trail. The series’ goal, in the face of unlikely odds, is to highlight the work and dedication of these individuals, their stories and their invisibility, making the invisible heroes visible.