Narrative Justice Project

The Narrative Justice Project is a tactical response to the continual misrepresentation and under-representation of people of color in the media. Through this community organizing initiative, people of color around the country will have access to free media training. Participants will learn how to leverage the media in times of crisis and during community challenges.

Media representation of black and brown people is rife with racial undertones and negative stereotypes that undermine communities of color. Victim-blaming and false perceptions often sway public opinion. This destructive distortion of the true narrative is a grave injustice. It damages the perception of people of color, creating a negative ripple effect, with deep and broad consequences.

And while the most negative stories tend to make media headlines, many stories are left untold and communities are silenced. In addition, research shows that stories of injustices towards Native Americans and Asians are often entirely absent from media reports. The common thread among media portrayals of all of these groups is imbalance and injustice.

We continually see one-sided stories weaponizing race as the reason for acts of violence or mistreatment. These patterns create a continuous cycle of trauma and fatigue. The Narrative Justice Project seeks to empower people of color to own their narratives, allowing their humanity to be seen. Through customized media training, we plan to teach marginalized groups how to interact and engage with the media. We see this act of empowerment as a critical opportunity to shift the media landscape.

As a social change agency that has a history of collaborating with underserved communities while successfully working with the media for a wide range of nonprofit clients, The Wakeman Agency is uniquely positioned to address this issue. As one of the only social change agencies led by a woman of color—we bring profound passion for equality, as well as expertise, to our communications and public relations work.

The Narrative Justice Project will unfold in three phases: 

  • Beginning in March 2020, Wakeman will offer Narrative Justice Media Training sessions in New York, New Jersey and Chicago. We will provide local residents with strategies and tactics for interacting with the media to address, counteract and reduce/eliminate negative slants to news stories. The Narrative Justice Project will continue around the country beginning in spring 2020.
  • Phase 2, commencing in Q3 2020, will take the Narrative Justice Project directly to the media. With a series of impactful presentations and roundtables we will present our data to the journalists, editors and broadcasters who shape the narrative.
  • Phase 3 in fall of 2020 will focus on representing a select group of victims and families of victims of racially motivated crimes. 

Without a doubt, providing justice in the narrative is a crucial component of equality and justice overall. Our goal is to help people take control of their own stories and defeat racist stereotyping in the media. 

We invite you to join us in this essential initiative. If you would like the Narrative Justice Project to come to your community, or to receive more information, please complete the following form.