Women in Media hosts annual conference

September 25, 2017 GMT

Women In Media (WIM) hosted their fifth Annual Women In Media Conference, themed “Advocacy & Leadership! Be Seen. Be Heard. Be BOLD.” at WeWork on Saturday morning.

The conference brought together hundreds of Black women who work in the media industry or are aspiring media professionals and included workshops and panel discussions centered on professional and wellness topics. It also included a ceremony honoring Philadelphia’s first poet laureate and activist Sonia Sanchez and PhillyCAM.

“Although women are making substantial advances in media, there is still much to be done to ensure progress continues,” said WIM organizers in a statement. “For the past four years, the WIM Conference has provided women in media with the tools, methods and processes to empower themselves and highlight the necessity of full representation of women in media. Women from various disciplines in media as well as those indirectly tied to the industry attend the annual conference to network, connect, learn and most importantly, gain inspiration and motivation.”

This year, WIM also awarded the inaugural 2017 Advocacy & Leadership Award to PhillyCAM for “their dedication to impact and community reporting.” Sanchez received its annual Arete of Media Award.

In a keynote speech prior accepting the honor, Sanchez pushed the women to think about their purpose in the world and act on it.

“You got to know why you’re put on this Earth, people. You’re put on this Earth to make sure change occurs. You’re put on this Earth to come up against tons of money but I’m talking about people, people with hearts, people with ideas about the world, people who’ve decided that this world is going to survive in spite of people who have so much money,” she said.

“People laugh at Trump. You can laugh all you want to. Laugh, but organize. Laugh and organize so he won’t get re-elected. That is a dangerous man. You look at him and you understand the 1 percent, the 1 percent that put him in power. Fascism is what’s in their eyes. The people that will end up in a sorry condition will be Black and Puerto Rican, Black and Brown people and working-class whites who have not recognized what has happened to them in this country … It’s about time we look at each other and say, ‘We need to really come together and work together.’”

After Sanchez received her award, the conference transitioned into the workshops and panel discussions in which professionals advised the women on different topics related to wellness, leadership and advocacy.

“We want to make sure we are consistent [to] follow through on the goals we set,” said Jeffrey Jones, entrepreneur, and host of Community Voice Radio, 106.5 FM. Jones facilitated the “The Need To Exceed — How To Exceed Expectations And Achieve Greatness” workshop and stressed the importance of seeing one’s dreams to reality, stating that one cannot “just speak into existence, we have to hold ourselves accountable for what we spoke. That develops a mindset of wanting to follow through. [And] that relates to resourcefulness.”

DeAundra Cash, a former journalist who now makes a living teaching yoga, shared wellness tips in the “Recharge and Reboot: How to Incorporate Self-Care Into A Busy Workday” workshop.

“I strongly believe in the power of ‘No,’” she said. “We as women feel we have to say yes to everybody. As Black women, we are told we have to be strong but there are moments when we should stop and take a breather.” Cash advised that women should “take something for us,” even if it is just a walk. In the workplace, she shared some practices that can help with recharging. “Different things I used to do in corporate America that helped me get that break — I would literally get up and take a lap around my office and sit back down. And some breathing exercises — taking a second because we need that.”

LaQuisha Anthony, an education training specialist for Women Organized Against Rape (WOAR) and Founder of VOICE, a support system for survivors of sexual abuse, was the presenter for the “Advocating With the Right Language” workshop. She advised on best practices in reporting that involves victims.

“Media is the beating pulse of our communities,” said Anthony. “The message media utilizes has a big impact on society. If we can transform the language media uses, then we can transform the language society uses.”