Abriendo las Cajas (Opening Boxes)
Latinos in the Fruitvale neighborhood of Oakland, California gained technical and storytelling skills as they created nearly two dozen digital stories addressing their own experiences of intimate partner violence. Some participants took their media literacy to the next level, producing a short documentary exploring and analyzing the violent messages in Spanish language media.
Abriendo las Cajas (Opening Boxes) inspired
- community members and organizations to become more involved in media production,
- the use of local media as an effective tool in facilitating community discussions,
- more community projects to further disseminate the already produced DVDs, and
- the inclusion of new media making in future projects.
More than 200 community organizations from across the US requested the digital story compilation DVD. Health clinics, schools and prisons screened the stories and used the viewing guide to initiate community discussions. The DVD, along with a curriculum guide in English and Spanish, is available free to non-profit organizations and schools by request.
Abriendo las Cajas was invited to present digital stories at the FCC Digital Inclusion summit in Washington, DC in 2010. The audience for this screening included national policy leaders, teachers, technologists and community leaders who were brought together to discuss technology access, training and resources for underserved communities throughout the US.
Project Snapshot: Telling Digital Stories
"With Abriendo las Cajas our goal is to give minorities within the community who don’t have access to technology the chance to express their ideas and experiences, and maybe find possible solutions to violence." --media maker Juan Cuba
Adult and youth media makers described the learning and healing experiences that have come out of the program in a video evaluation. This testimony from participants is useful for nonprofits, teachers, and program managers in illustrating this type of program and its challenges. View the 10 minute evaluation video.
Individuals and organizations recognized the value of media production as well as the value of using media for community discussion.
Project success can be measured both by the number of participants and by individual commitment to the media making process. The second DVD documentary showed the progress made by participants as they acquired technological and storytelling skills for media making.
Too many cooks in the kitchen can lead to confusion. Project partners mentioned that sometimes it was hard to tell who was in charge of the collaboration. Staffing changes at each of the partner organizations created challenges for project leadership in many areas from scheduling to media production.
Watch and Listen
New Research & Recommendations
This report (PDF 3.8MB) offers guidance for community organizations and those who fund social change in how best to harness the power of local media-making for community health improvement. Spanish-language version is now available. Una versión en español de este informe esta en la web.