<i>"The Name of Our Country is América" - Simon Bolivar</i> The Narco News Bulletin<br><small>Reporting on the War on Drugs and Democracy from Latin America
 English | Español August 15, 2018 | Issue #67

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Al Giordano

Opening Statement, April 18, 2000
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The School Taught Me How To Bring Together My Passion For Filmmaking And For Working With Social Issues

We were there to grow, to learn, and to teach

By Thais Guisasola
School of Authentic Journalism 2016

March 5, 2017

I walk into a large sunny room, choose a chair and sit in a circle. A variety of different people make eye contact with each other perhaps imagining what kind of background story each brings with them. One cannot distinguish between the ones who are taking the role of teaching from the ones who supposedly are there to learn. People take turns introducing themselves, sometimes strong and confident, sometimes shy or funny. The tension of getting to know a new crowd shifts very quickly to an intimate and genuine interest sparking from everyone in the room.

Thais Guisasola, Escuela de Periodismo Auténtico 2016

The magic that starts to happen is led by the deep, intelligent and interesting crowd interacting with each other. Each personal story is embedded in passion. People who are active in their own communities are now able to share and learn from the experience of others.

As the days roll through, this coming together allows the best of us to come out. We are to work together and not against each other even when we disagree. A comfortable space is created for the sharing of the most valuable experiences. We are there to grow, to learn, to teach, and there is room for mistakes.

I am not sure how it happened, but I had started questioning my whole educational and professional path in relation to the things I truly believe. I was given the space to try what I was not confident about trying anywhere else. More than anything, the School of Authentic Journalism taught me how to bring together more than ever before my passion for filmmaking and my passion for actively thinking and working with the social issues I face in my community.

I am still inspired by the late night guitar playing, the speech and conversation about South African Apartheid led by Mkhuseli “Khusta” Jack, the greatest and perhaps ‘impossible to beat’ performance our group created, and the eye opening exercise of role-playing a political situation in consideration of all the possible roles people take in such event. How true and how sad this last exercise was, as it made me understand the traps we constantly run into as activists and communicators. How valuable it was to come up with real solutions that point you into the direction of action, that ground you within an internal confidence in the importance of your own work. This entire process showed me the necessary and valuable process of international community building and creation of a support network.

I realized that the injustices we were fighting against, although located in different parts of the world, shared similar power structures and so we could connect. I was pushed to be vulnerable and strong as I stood in front of the crowd many times in order to either show a creative side of myself, or to convey an important argument.

Over half a year has passed since I left Mexico, as life unfolds I continue to think about the new colleagues and friends I made. We continue to support and share stories with each other. We became tight. And as I fly into new discoveries, as I finish old projects, I plan on seeing, connecting and working with many of these great folks.

This made me realize how careful and how well the selection of the people who participate is made. This is why the application to enter the School of Authentic Journalism asks you to really discuss who you are, what you believe in, what you do. You are invited then to blossom together with all these other vivid, intelligent people, full of life and energy.

More than supporting a School for Authentic Journalism, your support will also be given to people and communities who will eternally benefit from this encounter. Our future in media and social movements will always benefit from such an impactful experience of sharing and learning.

Donate to the School of Authentic Journalism 2017.

Thais Guisasola

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The Narco News Bulletin: Reporting on the Drug War and Democracy from Latin America