A Night to Support Independent Media—Such a Deal

DEALS & DISCOUNTS--On my first day at my new job, one of my co-workers was complaining that it had taken her a long time to drive to work due to the millions of illegals that are driving on the Los Angeles freeways. After questioning her, she repeated what she heard Sean Hannity say on radio that morning. I told her not to listen to that stuff, and, in frustration, went to my cubicle to cry over ignorant rhetoric both on the air and passed down by everyday people. 


Garbage in, Garbage out

What we surround ourselves shapes our thinking and our conversations.  If a person listens to hate speech, it is no wonder they spewed it back. 

An Introduction to KPFK

While getting my teaching credential from CSUN, my African American studies professor assigned his students to keep a daily diary of KPFK. Throughout the semester had had to listen to an hour a day and journal. That diary has stayed with me and so has public radio, especially the program “Democracy Now”. I am a true Amy Goodman fan relating to issues that I do not normally encounter or even consider. 


Amy Goodman (photo: above left)was here in Los Angeles last week for a book signing and KFPK fundraiser at Immanuel Presbyterian Church at 3300 Wilshire Blvd on Wednesday, May 17. For those of you unfamiliar with her work, Amy Goodman is the executive producer and reporter of DN for over 20 years. She broadcasts daily internationally on airwaves, television, and podcasted everywhere, and infamous voice is becoming like a trusted old friend. 

It was a magical night supporting an important local radio station and meeting many iconic journalists. Tickets were $20 each, and as I said before, it was a KPFK fundraiser. We meet KPFK celebs such as “Uprising” host Sonali Kolhatkar, journalist and author, Greg Palast, and co-founder of Democracy Now and journalist Denis Moynihan. There was a brief silent auction of an autographed Shepard Fairey poster from the Women’s March of a Muslim woman “We the People are Greater than Fear”, and other resistance works of art. Then it was on to the main speaker, Amy Goodman. Her book sells for $17, and the thrill of meeting her and book-signing were free. Her other speaking engagements on the book tour have been free, but I am happy to make a donation to public radio. 

Amy is a great story teller, expanding on current events and drawing connections to historical, local, national and international politics. With a range of topics from the EPA, Syria, Afghanistan, Erdogan, Putin, Standing Rock, and of course, the current Trump administration, many of the stories told are also highlighted in her book, Twenty Years: Covering the Movements Changing America. She is Harvard-educated, revealing unbiased, in-depth reporting and interviewing, many times going to remote locations. Her mission, “to give voice to the silent”, is evidenced in every broadcast.  Look her up, she is awesome.   

Out of the many stories she told, here are a few of my favorites: 

Atlanta Federal Prison

A group of prisoners at the federal penitentiary in Atlanta had been listening to Democracy Now daily at 7 am during their free time. They were so inspired by the broadcasts, during a fund drive they collectively raised over $300 from inmates pooling their commissary money of $5 each to make a donation. Here prisoners are placing an importance on free education as a life line. 

Standing Rock Video

We all know about the story of the resistance to the 3.8B Keystone Pipeline through the sacred tribal grounds of the North Dakota Sioux. During a protest rally, there was a warrant out for Amy’s arrest. While awaiting arraignment until the following Monday, she broadcasted from Standing Rock. She used that opportunity to interview the 45th chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux, a pediatrician, and other water protectors. She was able to catch video footage of the guards releasing vicious attack dogs on the protestors. The video went viral, and within 24 hours 14 million people had seen it. While in Laos, President Obama was confronted by a Laotian journalist who questioned the youtube video, which prompted Obama to watch the video for himself. As a result, Obama halted development over sacred tribal areas. As we all know since, Trump reinstated it. 

To read or listen to a similar talk with Tavis Smiley.  

As predicted the LA event was inspirational just as a Bernie rally with energetic enthusiasm, momentum, and many of the same issues being discussed. With continuous and important news coming at us all the time, we are fortunate to have a fluid story teller recalling facts, statistics, endlessly difficult to pronounce names advocating for the voices of the silent or those who have been silenced.  


Democracy Now!


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(Sue Helmy has plenty of tricks up her sleeve. She is currently providing superb administrative services at a financial management firm in Century City. She is active in countless church and civic organizations and spends every minute she can spare dancing to the Zumba beat.)