Moving forward with media advocacy in the age of Trump

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Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2016 — So the unthinkable happened. Donald Trump won the presidency. At BMSG, we spent the solemn day huddled near the center of our brightly colored office, expressing our anger, fear and frustration.

Through the tears and some tension-breaking laughter, we closed in and gave one another a group hug. That simple, powerful gesture has become our approach for moving forward — and after a week of deep sadness, that's exactly what we are ready to do.

To our many friends and colleagues, known and unknown, we want to start by extending an embrace that so perfectly symbolizes the arm-in-arm solidarity in our collective, ongoing fight to improve the health of our communities. The fights will likely be more challenging in a Trump administration, but many of us have been there before. And infused with a new generation of community advocates, we will continue to grow our movement toward a more just and inclusive society.

At BMSG, we will continue to train advocates in media advocacy to push for community change. We will also continue to research how news agendas shape policy agendas, and we will help advocates raise their voices on a range of public health issues, even when the odds seem stacked against them.

In dark times like this, we must also remember to celebrate the victories. For example, voters in four states just said yes to increasing the minimum wage; the movement to reduce soda consumption and prevent diabetes continues to grow, with five more cities approving a tax on sugary drinks; and next year a record number of women of color — 38 — will be serving in Congress.

Another positive to come out of this election is that Hillary Clinton won the popular vote. That means more than half of voters likely share many of our common values. Highlighting our shared values strengthens our connections to one another and is one of the hallmarks of media advocacy. We're encouraged that the majority of Americans rejected the bigotry that underscored Trump's values. Together, we can uphold our belief in justice, equity, integrity and the many more values that unite us.

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About Berkeley Media Studies Group

Berkeley Media Studies Group researches the way public health issues are characterized in the media and helps community groups, journalists and advocates use the media to advance healthy public policy. BMSG is a project of the Public Health Institute.

Media contact
Heather Gehlert
510-704-3471
gehlert@bmsg.org

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