by Lisa Gray-Garcia, aka Tiny, Poor News Network
“This is survival radio, without- it-us-po’-folks-might-die radio, police-harrassed-criminalized-and-under-attack radio. Welcome to Poor News Network; thats PNN, not CNN, people.” – Introduction to the Poor News Network show once heard regularly on KPFA’s old Morning Show, now heard occasionally on KPFA’s Morning Mix
For over a decade, all us youth, adults and elders in struggle with false borders, police harassment, profiling , criminalization, welfare systems and budget genocide have been creating radio in our own voices, about our own struggles and our own self-determined solutions.
Why is this so urgently needed on the community airwaves of KPFA? Because people walk to end poverty, sing to end poverty, spend money to end poverty, create studies and surveys and conferences and academic research investigations about the root causes and connections of poverty, race, disability and immigration.
And yet folks rarely if ever consider that we, the poor migrant, indigenous, disabled and incarcerated peoples, have our own knowledge, are capable of telling, reporting and creating our own stories, from our own perspectives and in our own poor but loud, strong voices. And when we do so, real solutions to poverty, to the unfair and continued inequities leveled on the poorest of us, are being revealed. Media justice, media-based change is happening.
That’s where the extremely innovative, Poor News Network (PNN) comes in with KPFA as the powerful portal. Right now, those housed, stable or conscious people who do want to hear poor people’s lived scholarship, street scholarship, have to search for us in a mere 15 minute slot twice a month, thanks to the graciousness of Anita Johnson, Andres Soto and Anthony Fest, which they fit into their beautiful Morning Mix show on Thursday.
But we have so many more deep and beautiful voices and so much more poetry and music and love and knowledge and story and art to share with the conscious and thinking KPFA community so we can make change together.
Poor News Network radio is not only about telling our truths from our own mouths and with our own voices. It is also about putting forth change, activating liberation and saving lives.
It really is survival radio, if-we-don’t-get-access-we-will-die radio. It is the true notion of what KPFA community radio was built to give access to.
Editor’s note: The Bay View strongly supports Poor News Network – a true collective in the KPFA tradition – as producer of a full Morning Mix weekly show.
Tiny – or Lisa Gray-Garcia – is co-founder with her Mama Dee and co-editor with Tony Robles of POOR Magazine and its many projects and author of “Criminal of Poverty: Growing Up Homeless in America,” published by City Lights. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit www.tinygraygarcia.com and www.racepovertymediajustice.org.
Read the fascinating story by poverty scholar Terrilyn Woodfin on Abdullah Warith, a panhandler known as Papa Bear, posted with this video, at http://poormagazine.org/node/4429. The video, of a recent Community Newsroom at Poor, features the issues of harassment of the homeless, racial profiling by police and wrongful foreclosure as explained by the targeted people themselves. It is these voices and more that are heard on Poor’s KPFA broadcasts.