Rewriting the narrative with the School of Journalism and Media Studies

Monday, March 25, 2024
Christopher Rivas presenting a chapter from his book, "Brown Enough"
Christopher Rivas presenting a chapter from his book, "Brown Enough"

SAN DIEGO — Highlighting the Hispanic/Latinx community at San Diego State University, the School of Journalism and Media Studies disrupted the narrative with its latest installment of the Screening Circle on March 19. With only 3.3% of main characters in TV shows representing the Hispanic/Latinx community, the Screening Circle aims to empower students on their journey to authenticity by showcasing stories and storytellers from traditionally marginalized groups. 

The event featured author, actor and activist Christopher Rivas discussing his book, “Brown Enough.” Rivas led a discussion about navigating the media industry as a Latinx individual. 

“We have to make the content,” began Rivas as he explained the importance of diverse storytellers. “Otherwise, you are going to get such a beautiful and talented actress like Sofía Vergara as a drug dealer. It is the same narrative. It is nothing we have not seen before. We need to write stories … if you want a difference … you have to write it. Make it.” 

With at least 30% of JMS’s students being Hispanic/Latinx, this call to action resonated. After the event, Dr. Temple Northup, director of JMS, noted that events like this fit well within SDSU’s and JMS’s broader vision. 

“Screening Circle is essential to our commitment to inclusivity,” said Northup. “It embodies our dedication to amplifying diverse perspectives, fostering a community of equity and understanding.” 

Launched during the height of the Black Lives Matter movement in 2020, Screening Circle is an initiative dedicated to showcasing underrepresented stories and storytellers within the media. The hope is that by celebrating diverse communities, attendees will be inspired to be advocates for change and feel confident that they can disrupt the narratives that are typically found within the media. 

"I felt that Screening Circle empowered me to share my story by spotlighting experiences within my community,” said JMS student Saraí Solorzano, who attended the event. 

As students interacted with Rivas, strong connections to his experiences in the media formed, driving home the importance of JMS’s support for artists from diverse backgrounds.

“As a Hispanic (person), JMS creates a sense of belonging and is breaking the stereotypes within the media by supporting artists that share my background,” said JMS student Victoria Osorio. “Attending events like Screening Circle inspires me with opportunities for representation.” 

JMS’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion is evident through events like Screening Circle. The next installment of the series will be in the fall and feature Nicole Cardoza. 

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