1Hood Energy Hour host Miracle Jones on what’s missing in present political events; Submit-election plans to develop the present | Information | Pittsburgh

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CP Photo: Jared Wickerham

1Hood Director of Policy and Advocacy Miracle Jones

In the final months of the pandemic, the local artist and activist coalition 1Hood Power hosted what they call “Power Hours”: in-depth conversations with political and social leaders about the current climate in Pittsburgh and beyond. Miracle Jones, 1Hoods Director of Policy and Advocacy, was a key actor and moderator during these weekly sessions on Facebook and YouTube. From reporting on World AIDS Day to meeting political activist Dr. Cornel West showed 1Hood a commitment to the diversity of thoughts and perspectives and exposed a wide audience to information they would otherwise not have known.

Pittsburgh has been a place of political change in recent election cycles, with a syringe of youth and new visions in seats like State Representatives Sara Innamorato and Summer Lee, both first elected in 2018 and backed by the Democratic Socialists of America. Lee was also the first black woman who was chosen to be Southwestern Pa. To represent in the state parliament. Despite the progress that has been made in these areas, Jones, who considers herself a strange black feminist with left-wing politics, spoke to the Pittsburgh City Paper about where she saw current political parties in the recent elections were unable to do that To reach voters.

“[They are lacking] In terms of cultural literacy, lived experience, I think a lot of youth, a lot of commitment about what it means to be working class, what it means to be in the gig economy, what it means to be in debt, “says Jones was a Mem that was walking around recently talking about how we were all born in the 80s, we survived. I’m just turning 33. We survived September 11th, Enron, several recessions, the financial crisis and things that many previous generations did not, in addition to war and a global pandemic. ”

Jones stresses that many of our current political leaders do not understand what it means to be working class, which was highlighted in the recent debate on a second stimulus plan and the amount Americans should receive. The landscape that we classify as “politics” is huge and far-reaching. That is why 1Hood has tried to cover a wide range of topics with these Power Hours.

What was the driving force behind these conversations?
We started the 1Hood Power Hour because we noticed a lot of conversations were being left out. It seemed like a lot of politicians and experts were talking about people, but without people’s experience and also without resources and support for people. Some of the reasons we started was so that we could tell people where to go if they needed eviction protection, if they needed checkups and mental health support, if they wanted to investigate different laws and statutes . We wanted a place for people, not necessarily an echo chamber, but a place where people could get information to have conversations that really weren’t going on.

Many newsrooms are closing and businesses are taking over. As a result of this postponement, many discussions remain on the table. So we tried to bring more people to the table who traditionally weren’t there.

Do you think you have successfully tried to bring these things to light?
Yes, many people have turned to us and thanked us for the various topics. It was often the first time they heard from different organizers and organizations. I think we were really successful. I know we’re trying to get into conversation more next year, but there was a limit because you can’t pay for the press. So people have to volunteer for the shows. It was really an pursuit of love and passion, but that still shows a bit of privilege for people who are able to get involved. We’re just trying to think about how we can be more proactive, even during a global pandemic, by posting more stories and letting people know what’s going on and how to get involved.

A lot of people said they stopped using Facebook for privacy reasons, so we moved on to YouTube. So let’s start this, get it back on track, and get a website next year. We’re trying to make things more accessible and have more stories. Participants said this was the first time they saw strange people, the first time they saw trans people, the first time they heard about an immigrant on the show and that is very unfortunate. But I think it just shows the vacuum that exists in the media and how many people just need more information to access and ways to share their stories.

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1Hood Director of Politics and Legal Affairs Miracle Jones - CP PHOTO: JARED WICKERHAM

CP Photo: Jared Wickerham

1Hood Director of Policy and Advocacy Miracle Jones

What did you expect to get started on this project compared to what you learned as a result?
I think I was just expecting to have various community conversations and talk more about politics in Pittsburgh. But I think what I learned was just people’s resilience and what they’re going through. We had people texting us, emailing us, and people chatting asking questions because there was a real hunger and thirst for information. Personally, I was unaware of the greater crisis in the newsroom. I learned that a lot of government agencies really don’t know how to reach people and how to involve people. They don’t know how to talk to people. The reason I mention the eviction so often is because a crisis is looming.

Now we are learning that all of these funds have basically been wasted. People really didn’t know how to apply for some of these programs. We had people from the Department of Human Services who came in and guided people through applying for some of the rent relief. It was the first time people heard about these programs. They even had people saying to Erie and Chester County, “You know, we saw the show and that’s how we learned about services.” I think that was a big deal for me – maybe the biggest lesson – and one of the driving forces behind why we keep the show going.

Where do you see the future of these talks?
Yeah i’m so excited. We carry on, the future will be virtual now. We have a three year plan. Once COVID is better controlled, we plan to do so across the county and across the Commonwealth and make it more engaging and interactive so people can be interviewed on different topics and learn a lot more. We want to make this much more comprehensive. One of the things we’re looking at right now is trying to get funding for an ASL interpreter. A couple of people have told us that the subtitles are wrong sometimes. So we’re trying to find ways and support to make them more accessible in this regard. Have a couple of people send us some resources. So if anyone has the financial means to hire full-time ASL interpreters, please contact us.

Not only do we want things to be more accessible, we want more people, more teenagers, and underrepresented people to come on the show. We will have different takeovers of the 1Hood Power Hour by different people and hopefully be an international global show for news and people, the global majority, come together. I love the fact that our platform brings different intersections together and people show up and organize and volunteer in places they didn’t have before. So we’re excited. We’re going to have a couple of YouTube-specific platforms that include things like food justice and community organization.

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