Support Free Spirit Media's Year End Giving Campaign

By Anjali Misra

This year feels like an especially urgent time for transformative storytellers to be heard. At Free Spirit Media, we transform media and society by providing opportunities for emerging creators, primarily from communities of color, to produce and distribute original content and to pursue artistic, personal and professional aspirations.  

Ashley K. SmithFree Spirit Pro and Industry Pathways alumna recently shared why transformative storytelling was an important consideration in the documentary short A Tale of Two Cities, which she co-produced. Originally from Baltimore, Ashley grew up with the perspective that "Though violence was common, sometimes a couple stoops away, if not on your own steps, there was still a sense of togetherness and pride that, from the outside looking in, you wouldn't notice."  

With A Tale of Two Cities I wanted to help combat the image of the violence plagued streets of Chicago and show that despite the frequency of reports, these neighborhoods can also be quiet communities of families and people just living their lives.
— Ashley K. Smith

The work of Free Spirit Media’s young artists responds directly to a timely call to “imagine and craft the worlds [we] cannot live without, just as [we] dismantle the ones [we] cannot live within” (Ruha Benjamin, Princeton University Professor of African American Studies). In the city of Chicago, in the state of Illinois and across the country, we are at a critical turning point when it comes to the production, distribution and consumption of media. As the standards of journalism evolve to address the widespread proliferation of fake news, we know we can rely on the firsthand stories from people taking narrative power into their own hands, offering their own accounts from a transparent standpoint. At the same time that injustices are being revealed across the industry, leaders of news, film and television strive to create more inclusive, equitable spaces in which diverse content creators can thrive. Free Spirit Media is proud to support these important efforts. We are fortifying a foundation for young artists who have taken up the reigns to make positive change in society through conscious, thought-provoking storytelling. With local news organizations closing down and sensational reporting (especially about this city), we need to amplify content created by local storytellers.  

Donate to Free Spirit Media before the end of 2017, and help us change the media landscape in Chicago and beyond!