Inspired by The WPA/FWP Oral Slave Narratives, The C19WP is a multimedia archive of first-person narratives around COVID-19.
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Founded in 2013, The Brooklyn Reader (www.bkreader.com) is a community newspaper covering the most underserved and under-resourced neighborhoods across central and east Brooklyn, including Bedford-Stuyvesant, Crown Heights, Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, Brownsville, East New York, Flatbush, Prospect Heights and Bushwick.
BK Reader is the first and only black-owned (and woman-owned) daily community news site in New York State, M/WBE certified to do business with the City of New York.
From city and state government officials, to mom-and-pop store owners; from community board members, to public housing residents; BK Reader is Brooklyn’s most trusted source for local news and information because it belongs to the community.
"When America Catches the Flu"
As a global community, we are in the middle of the worst health pandemic any of us have every experienced in our lifetime. BK Reader's work has accelerated exponentially, as it is during this time, we turn most heavily to the media for new information and also to the voices of our leaders for the best way forward.
However, throughout American history, the most powerful, most amplified voices inevitably are often those most removed from the crisis, while the voices of the marginalized and most vulnerable-- the homeless, the sick and the poor-- are turned down, ignored or muted altogether.
This has devastating consequences for minority communities, because when America catches a cold, its vulnerable communities catch the flu. And when America catches the flu, its vulnerable communities die.
As founder of BK Reader, I chose journalism to bring equity and balance to the voices in media. It is also why, following the onset of the COVID-19 citiwide quarantine, BK Reader launched The COVID-19 Writers Project (C19WP), a multimedia documentation and archive of the coronavirus pandemic experience through first-person narratives of Brooklyn residents.
With grant support fromThe Pulitzer Center, National Geographic Society and the American Medical Association, C19WP captures the voices of everyday residents across all demographics, including those living on the the margins during this crisis, such as the formerly incarcerated, homeless residents, emergency room doctors, nurse technicians, high school students and an HIV-positive resident, amongst so many others.
The C19WP multimedia has been extraordinary accomplishment which includes:
Five (5) Essays on COVID-19 Crisis, Response, Devastation, Awakening and Recovery
Twenty-Five (25) Profile Summaries of participants
Five (5) Photo Essays on COVID-19 Crisis, Response, Devastation, Awakening and Recovery
All of the videos can be found on the C19WP YOUTUBE channel, and the full project can be viewed here and here.
Currently, we are raising funds for The COVID-19 Writers Project (C19WP) to create:
A 90-min documentary (abbreviated and edited from the current 5 hrs of project video footage); and
An educational curriculum (grades 6-12) around C19WP
This next endeavor will help to amplify the project's work to a much wider audience through the 90-min documentary, aimed at cable tv programming. The school curriculum will provide a roadmap for educators in teaching both first-person storytelling and point-of-view survey and reporting; while developing empathy and leadership amongst young students through exercises in crisis analysis and response.
10-20 additional hours of Filming (2 cameras); $3,250
Editing/Post Editing: $12,000
Marketing Materials/Pitching: $5,000
Curriculum development (via Illinois State University); Grades 6-8, $7,000
Curriculum development (via Illinois State University); Grades 9-12, $9,750