Discover more from Sounds Like Impact
'Missing, Murdered & Forgotten' + Birding with Tenijah Hamilton
Sounds Like Impact: A newsletter for audio and action - Vol. 14
Welcome to Sounds Like Impact!
Today we have a guest curation by Jaime Albright a producer on the Freeway Phantom podcast and an interview with Tenijah Hamilton, the host of Bring Birds Back.
[Content warning:] The guest podcast curation includes topic related to violence and trauma. Please take care should you choose to listen. Resources will be provided.
👋🏾 We are now a community of over 400! That happened so quickly from our last milestone of 300 and I’m excited to say we have also expanded the number of countries this audience comes from. While most of you are predominantly U.S. based, I definitely want us to have more of a global perspective. If you want to jump in the in the comments and introduce yourselves, please do!
✅ If you haven’t already, please fill out this short feedback survey closing on July 31st. Even if you haven’t been a subscriber for long, I would still love to hear from you! My AP statistics (okay, and my recollection of grad school stat) is telling me 17 responses is not enough 😅.
📘 Last week I interviewed Chris Colbert and Adell Coleman from Say Their Name podcast. I can only call it perfect timing, but the Haymarket Books newsletter just shared that there is a new book out called #SayHerName: Black Women’s Stories of Police Violence and Public Silence by Kimberlé Crenshaw (famous for developing the intersectionality framework) and the African American Policy Forum. I haven’t read it yet, but if anyone grabs a copy, let me know what you think!
✍️ Learn about a cool fellowship opportunity! The Public Voices Fellowship on Technology in the Public Interest. The year-long fellowship is for individuals who have expertise and experience conducting research and/or advocacy that addresses the social impacts of technology. Apply by August 1, 2023.
🙌 Keeping the faith: Worker solidarity! SAG-AFTRA, the actor’s guild, is on strike. There hasn’t been alignment between The Writers Guild and SAG-AFTRA strikes in 63 years, so it is quite the historic moment.
Also, a potential strike to watch: 340,000 UPS drivers if their demands aren’t met by July 31st. Learn more about this on Grist; yes, this is relevant to climate change.
While no one wants to get to the point of a strike, that these people can organize and exercise this right is something to value and support.
🎧 #AudioForAction | Guest Curation by Jaime Albright
Missing, Murdered & Forgotten
It is important to highlight stories of missing and murdered people of color to remember the victims and reduce racial disparities in the media and in law enforcement investigations.
While Black people make up about 14% of the U.S. population (2021 Census) they are over represented in missing person cases, accounting for approximately 40% of reported cases of missing persons in the U.S. in 2021 (NCIC, 2022). Despite that fact, victims of color are significantly underrepresented in media coverage. This disparity also exists in criminal investigations. According to FBI Crime data, the likelihood of a murder being solved when the victim is a person of color is lower and these investigations also receive far less media coverage. Several factors contribute to these disparities, including racial bias, stereotypes and lack of diversity in newsrooms and among law enforcement. While social media should level the playing field, several recent studies found that there is up to 50% less social media engagement in stories surrounding missing or murdered people of color. In 2016, journalist Gwen Ifill popularized the phrase “Missing White Woman Syndrome” to articulate this phenomenon. When we fail to give equal attention to cases of missing or murdered people of color, we reduce the likelihood of finding missing people and bringing closure to families.
As a Black woman working as a podcast producer, it is important to me that we provide a platform for victims and their families to tell their stories and shed light on unsolved cases. I also believe in the healing power of storytelling. By giving a voice to the victims and their families, we stand with them in solidarity and hope that their loved one will be found or that their case will be solved.
Podcasting is a medium that is redefining black and brown representation by reducing barriers and providing a platform to share the stories of these forgotten victims. In doing so, we shine a light on how these cases are covered by the media and investigated by law enforcement. Podcasts empower the individual and give a voice to all victims and their families. I recommend that you check out the podcasts below that are spreading awareness and highlighting cases of underrepresented victims.
Freeway Phantom, Episode 1: Forgotten Girls
Freeway Phantom covers the 50 year old unsolved serial murders of at least 6 black girls who were abducted and murdered by Washington DC’s first serial killer. The victims' families feel that the girls were forgotten. Our investigation leads us to boxes of original case files, and a lead detective who hasn’t forgotten. She believes that race played a role in the investigation and is still determined to solve these cases.
The Fall Line, The Disappearance and Murder of Susana Morales
The Fall Line works with law enforcement and families to research and share cases of homicide, missing persons and unidentified persons (John and Jane Doe) that are underrepresented in the mainstream media. They give a voice to forgotten victims.
Truer Crime, Relisha Rudd Remembrance Day (Republish)
Host Celisia Stanton shares stories of “real people'' who are missing, murdered or misled. This podcast digs deeper and challenges listeners to ask more questions about the root cause of crime and what justice really is.
Untold Stories: Black and Missing, A Mother Murdered and a Child Vanished
The goal of this podcast is to help find those who have gone missing, to bring them home and provide answers to their loved ones. This is a must-listen for anyone who believes that every missing person deserves to be found.
Black Girl Gone, The disappearances of Bianca Green and Cristina Voltaire
Black Girl Gone shines a light on cases of Black women who have gone missing or were murdered. A statement on their website sums up why they tell these stories, “Black girls deserve to be found not forgotten.”
🚨 Calls to Action
Share: We can all do our part to spread awareness of this social issue. We can like, share and follow stories of missing people of color on social media and listen to podcasts that tell these impactful stories.
Support: We can also support organizations like Black and Missing Foundation Inc. that assist families when their loved one goes missing, highlight cases of missing people of color on social media and advocate for change at the local, state and federal level to reduce the disparities that exist.
A note from Ayo: This is heavy content, so please take care.
U.S. only - Call or text 988 for support
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Tenijah Hamilton (she/her/hers) is a writer, executive and creative producer with a passion for using the transformative art of storytelling to instigate change. Since earning her Bachelors in Mass Communications, Creative Writing and Film and Media studies in 2015, she has worked at the intersection of media and social impact everywhere from the Tribeca Film Institute to NOVA on PBS, the longest running primetime science documentary series on American television. Since 2021, Tenijah has hosted and produced Bring Birds Back, a podcast about conservation, formal and citizen science, and of course—birds, told through the lenses of intersectionality and environmental justice.
Follow @BringBirdsBack on Instagram
After talking to Tenijah, I think I want to take up a new hobby, and you will want to too if you aren’t a birder already! 🐦 I will say, I immediately started watching Christian Cooper’s show on National Geographic after our chat.
Read below to see learn a little bit more about Tenijah’s storytelling background and check out the full interview! I highly recommend the audio. There’s laughter!
There is not a part of my memory, reality, lived experience that did not intersect with storytelling; it has always been a really deeply embedded part of me. I am a Black woman; my roots are firmly here. I grew up between New York and Atlanta and I think about so many people in my life, especially the women, who are just natural storytellers, orators. I kind of feel like it's a genetic thing. I kind of feel like it's like a generational gift because I just remember always being captivated by those stories and always feeling like the story keeper. And then when I was around seven or so–the second grade– I started telling my own stories.
But when I got to that point, it felt like carrying something onward. And so now as an adult, it really feels like an inextricable part of my identity. I am a storyteller, and that kind of comes through in many different ways. I love to write, but I also do podcasts and I got a flair for the dramatics when I'm talking to my people and my friends and I'm recounting something. You know, it's all kind of interwoven.
If you also want to hear us obsess about maritime archaeology…click here.
We still have availability for our last July issue and beyond!
⏭ Coming Up
A guest curation from Carolyn Kiel of Beyond 6 Seconds and an interview with Kate O’Connell and Ann Marie Awad of National Emergency!
🤗 An act of joy: I am now a PADI-Certified Rescue Diver. 🤿 I also dove in my first freshwater environment (a cenote)! I am working toward being able to teach scuba one day. AMA in the comments or share any diving experiences if you have them!
🙌 How to Support this Work
Sounds Like Impact is written and curated by Ayo Oti. Please consider several ways you can contribute to this important mission – providing a platform for social change through audio storytelling and calls to action for the change-maker that lives within all of us.
This work is made possible by your support, however it comes. Thanks for being part of the community and reading this far. Take care!