To all Current, Former, and Prospective Members of CitrusTV:
In the past couple of weeks, the protests happening across the country and world in support of the Black Lives Matter movement have made me consider the responsibilities that I carry as an individual, General Manager, and member of the Executive Staff, and the responsibilities that we, as a TV station, student organization on campus, members of CitrusTV, and as human beings have to each other.
As a first-generation Hispanic American college student, the daughter of two immigrant parents, and an individual who has the privilege of “passing” every day of my life, I want to emphasize that I cannot nor will ever fully understand what individuals in the Black community go through. I cannot understand the immense amount of pain, pressure, sacrifice, or difficulty that Black students, Black journalists, and Black members of CitrusTV deal with on a daily basis. But, as General Manager of this entirely student-run TV studio, I understand the responsibility that I have, and the power that being an Executive Staff member can hold. I want to make sure that this Executive Staff takes the right steps at this moment in history, and I want to take action on our responsibility beyond simply words on a page.
It’s important to recognize that this action is a direct result of everything happening in the country and that it should not have taken this long for us to take these steps. That being said, the movement has brought to light how important it is for organizations like ours to take action to ensure an inclusive environment for all journalists, regardless of the color of their skin. To that end, the CitrusTV Executive Staff has voted to implement the following Actionable Steps to ensure that our studio is a welcoming and inclusive environment for all. I hope that in recognizing our inaction in the past, and in implementing actionable steps for all members to follow moving forward, we set a precedent for station members and Executive Staff members for years to come. I urge all members to take the time to read the following Actionable Steps that the 2020 Executive Staff has agreed upon.
- Adding formal and specific language to our Code and Constitution regarding anti-discrimination and anti-bias policies.
- Setting up a formal way for members to anonymously or non-anonymously file or report anything that makes them feel uncomfortable, unwelcome, or unsafe or which may be considered discriminatory or biased. (Incident Form: CitrusTV.com/incident.)
- Enforcing that the Promotions Director, in addition to as stated in the bylaws “contact[s] the larger student organizations that represent minority student groups in an effort to attend one of their meetings and encourage their members to attend the General Interest Meeting and become Studio members”, offers to attend a meeting or launch for media organizations on campus representing minority groups and perspectives at least once per semester.
- Work with the Associate Dean for Diversity at Newhouse, as well as professors, staff, and faculty, to ensure all student members at CitrusTV receive mandatory bias training at least once per year.
- Create and provide resources to all members at the start of the semester regarding how to avoid bias, stereotyping, and generalizations in reporting and coverage.
- Work with current black and POC members, as well as black, international, and POC student–led media organizations to create black and POC specific content/programming.
- Connect black and POC members, as well as international and indigenous members, with journalism grants, scholarships, and initiatives that promote and empower our members
- Have members reach out to and participate in or volunteer with community outreach events on a semester basis.
These are not just numbers or words on a page and this is not a blanket statement. This is us admitting that there is more we should have been doing and that we are committing to change. These are long term actionable changes that require the active effort of all members. They are steps that we hope will push our organization forward and make CitrusTV the environment that it should be, for everyone.
To the Black members of CitrusTV, we are with you, we support you, and we are here for you. To all members of CitrusTV, please stand with us in recognizing that our newsroom, like many across America, is nowhere near as diverse as it could or should be. Please recognize the privilege that we all share in getting to tell other people’s stories, be it members of our campus community, or the local Syracuse community. Recognize that it is our privilege to get to serve them, not the other way around.
We all have a responsibility to the communities we are a part of. For so many members reading this, CitrusTV is a home, and fellow members are family. It is my belief that the steps above will push CitrusTV towards becoming a more inclusive and diverse community for all. We, as an organization also would like to call on other campus media organizations, at SU and beyond, to consider what actionable steps they can take to create a more inclusive, diverse, and actively anti-racist newsroom and environment.
I welcome any current, former, or prospective members, members of the SU community, and anyone reading this to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org regarding any questions, comments, or suggestions on how CitrusTV can continue to improve.