A Festive Media Conference in Detroit

Last week, a handful of Link editors drove down to Detroit, Michigan, for 19th edition of the Allied Media Conference, attending a series of workshops on community social justice organizing by way of participatory media.

The conference originally began in Bowling Green, Ohio as the Zine Conference in 1999, but changed its name to The Allied Media Conference in 2002 and moved to Detroit in 2007.

Staging at Wayne State University, just north of Midtown Detroit, the AMC hosted over 250 workshops and classes over the four days, taught by professionals from across North America. The conference itself was heavily promoted as a safe space and celebrated diversity above all.

On top of classes and workshops, attendees enjoyed film screenings, panel discussions, communal dinners, museum and city tours and an array of music and dancing events every evening. One Link editor overheard a fellow conference goer describe the AMC as “the Lollapalooza of conferences.”

The highlight of this year’s AMC was the Opening Ceremony, which was held in The Detroit Institute of Arts beautiful and historic theatre. Black Lives Matter co-founder Alicia Garza gave an inspiring and uplifting speech, and Mona Haydar performed her infamous “Wrap My Hijab” song with a crew of backup dancers.

The conference also included a large book fair, where artists from across North America showcased and sold their books, t-shirts, photography, prints, and homemade booty shorts.

On the last day of the conference, Families United 4 Justice, a group uniting and supporting families whose loved ones were murdered by police, held a vigil for Philando Castile. Mothers and sisters of victims shared their personal and moving, firsthand experiences of dealing with the judicial system and the loss of their loved ones.

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