The Shift the Narrative Coalition, spearheaded by Movement Alliance Project, Free Press, and the Media, Inequality & Change (MIC) Center, works to change the narratives around violence, crime and safety in local media, and put the power of storytelling in the hands of the community.

The coalition examines social change through the lens of violence, safety, and the impact of criminal justice narratives on the region. Philadelphia has the highest incarceration rate of any large jurisdiction in the country, and the length of stay is 3.5 times longer than the national average. Moreover, people of color account for 55 percent of Philadelphia's population, but a whopping 89 percent of the jail population. The Shift the Narrative coalition believes that a wholesale change in the way that violence and safety narratives are created and shared—led by community members, including those who are or have been incarcerated—can illuminate the impact of mass incarceration on the region and advance transformative policy change that will ultimately liberate people of color from the intertwining and unjust systems that seek to lock them up for the rest of their lives.

To that end, the three organizations are conducting research (MIC Center), leading community organizing and community media making (Movement Alliance Project), and supporting newsroom collaboration between journalists and community members (Free Press) to build a model in which communities can harness the power of media to create their own narratives.

Grants Awarded to Shift the Narrative Project

$1,001,945 - Awarded December 2019

Focus areas
Movement Media
Policing and Community Safety
Description

Through this three-year grant, in collaboration with Free Press and Media, Inequality, Change Center, Movement Alliance Project (MAP) will convene and connect community-based organizations and local leaders in an educational and strategic visioning process that will lead to action-taking to reshape narratives around safety, trauma and violence. In this work, MAP and their community partners will center, support, and help cohere people impacted by violence and the criminal-justice system.

$798,000 - Awarded December 2019

Focus areas
Media Policy
Description

With this three-year grant, Media, Inequality, and Change (MIC) Center will lead two integrated, multi-phase research projects focused broadly on Philadelphia's media ecosystem and community networks, while convening researchers, practitioners and activists to collaborate on outlining a vision for remaking media in ways that reflect communities' information needs. Together, with Free Press and Movement Alliance Project, MIC aims to transform prevailing media narratives and elevate complex stories about trauma, safety, crime and criminal justice in Philadelphia.

$80,000 - Awarded December 2021

Focus areas
Community-Centered Journalism
Description

A one-year grant to continue the organization's work with the Shift the Narrative collaborative which helps build power in local communities by bringing together journalists and communities members to learn from and work with one another on collaborative reporting projects, with the goal of building lasting trusted relationships and creating community-centered processes and narratives within newsrooms.

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