Bernard is using storytelling to amplify marginalized voices. He believes that young people of color simply do not have the resources and outlets to have their voices heard — Content By Us is a solution to that problem.
“Content By Us is a campaign focused on empowering young creators of color to use storytelling as a revolutionary tool. Folks have lots of things to say they just don’t have the platforms to say them,” Bernard told In The Know.
Content By Us began as a campus-based project and has since expanded to a national campaign. The core elements are its resource center and network of creators. The campaign shares webinars with speakers and virtual events to build skills for young professionals.
“Authentic representation matters. We can’t really wait for the media to diversify itself,” he said.
According to 2018 Pew Research, 75 percent of newsroom employees are white with half of most newsrooms consisting of white men. In 1978, the American Society of News Editors set the goal that by the year 2000, diversity in newsrooms would reflect the diversity in the U.S. That would mean at least 40 percent of media staff would have to be non-white. Today the landscape is a far cry from that.
“I think this is young people’s turn to reimagine and rethink every system that doesn’t work, including the media. It’s such an important time to take control of our own narratives,” Bernard said.
He admitted his temperament isn’t the kind that would find him out on the front lines of protests, while he’s happy to support them, storytelling is his contribution to the resistance.
“I was thinking what is my addition to social justice,” he said. “The folks documenting and amplifying what is happening are powerful components to pushing it forward. That made me feel super empowered. This idea that I could use platforms to create things.”
Some of his most rewarding moments were the times that Content By Us inspired real-world action like people signing petitions or mobilizing voters in 2020.
“When I think through my work it’s really just to figure out like how can we get there faster, farther using the power of narratives and narrative change,” Bernard said. “You kind of need both, you need stories, data, you need folks on the front lines all together.”
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