The opportunity to invite a North American collaboration among the leading community and school based youth movie training programs to stimulate a powerful voice aimed at promoting 21st Century policy to modernize the education system has been framed in the following ‘credo’ and organizing proposal. Recipients of this idea have included the most robust and self conscious program leaders that have been the source of movie entries into our Annual North American All Youth Film and Education Day, taking place in Sacramento since 1997. This document is the draft basis for an evolving conversation and organizational campaign to weld mutual assistance, model statewide and regional partnerships and advance the entire field of digital media arts and communication technology from youth culture.

North American Youth Media Organizing Network

Draft Unity Statement

  1. We live in the emerging reality of “Digitalism”, which is replacing Capitalism, in every aspect as the dominant paradigm of our culture and economy.
  2. The Internet, wireless mobile and the digital technology revolution is the instrumental foundation of this new paradigm and must be embraced and made central to all education, as they are in global commerce.
  3. Developing youth voice in digital media arts and communication technology must go beyond entertainment and be grounded in universal societal participation, ensuring that building civic engagement and capital, through digital media, is always a priority objective of youth learning and growth.
  4. Digital Media Arts and Communication Technology, in both academic and career technology pathways, must be an absolute priority subject, and sequential requirement in our K-12 education system.
  5. “Digital Media Literacy”, understanding the influence and forces of information, must be essential in 21st Century school modernization curriculum design.
  6. A “Multi Pathway” education system, harmonizing and integrating Academic Pathway and Career Technology Education course of study and curriculum, must be universalized.
  7. Special Schools, academies, secondary and post secondary dual credit for digital media arts and communication technology, must be generally implemented to establish an excellent, seamless and flexible continuum of learning.
  8. State and Federal law must be established to acknowledge and support digital media arts and communication technology as a priority in both education and workforce investment policy.
  9. Strategic public private partnerships must drive public and private sector investment in building and sustaining world class, competitive DMA&CT workforce and massively expand the visual and audio industry marketplace.
  10. The educational system must be consistently evolved through digital media industry partnerships, standardized and driven by courses of study, curricula, resources and leadership.
  11. A national digital media arts and communication technology “field” organization must be established to represent the interests and collaborative creative and commercial possibilities of the secondary and post secondary school systems, industry, community based youth media and non profit sector stakeholders.
  12. Major Research and data sharing on digital media proficiency and applications must be established to assess the influence on youth civic engagement, career/workforce evolution and impact on all around education performance and participation.

Draft Organizing Princicples

  1. We must study, understand and be able to describe the myriad barriers that have blocked system change; regional, state and national organizing in this field.
  2. Our organizational network membership, programming and interconnectivity must be built with sure steps, manageable division of labor, friendship, practical collective skills and capacity growing inventory.
  3. Organizational growth must be responsive, nimble and innovative within the new paradigm. We must be systemic, collaborative, sustainable, smart, and adequately resourced.
  4. New “field” organization must integrate educational, technical, creative, industry derived standards, invoke best practice replication, invite public private partnerships, citizen involvement and advocacy, and develop policy and political constituencies.
  5. Acknowledgement and credit must be encouraged in our relationships with existing professional youth media arts associations and organizations to ensure maximum collaboration and prevent competition within partnering  institutions and networks.
  6. Initiation of federal and state policy and legislation to address strategic education and work force system modernization should be a priority focus.
  7. New generation teachers (“digital natives”) and community organization staff development and support should be the key focus for growth and leadership.
  8. Strategic partnerships and resource relationships with the entertainment, manufacturing, telecommunication, social networking and digital service corporate industry clusters must be based on inviting sustainable workforce, R&D, and market expansion investments for our program development versus dependence on token, divisive, tactical charity and philanthropy.
  9. A North American Youth media production library and interactive archive must be assembled, pooled from, and accessible to the field to expand exhibition and societal influence a “Smithsonian” entity for the future.
  10. The infrastructure for a North American Youth Media Organization Network must include participation from youth leaders, secondary and post-secondary educators, including classroom teachers and administrative leadership, industry leaders, key media professional mentors, local and state public agencies (in workforce, arts and education sectors), researchers, parents, foundations, community media organizations, social service, health and cultural nonprofits, and political leaders from all regions of the country.