Incorporated in April 2013 Grassroots Media DC is a new organization without paid staff. As such, the board of directors does the bulk of the work–raising funds to pay for equipment and instructor stipends, coordinating classes, etc. Eventually, we plan to have an eight to twelve person board, composed of former and current program participants, media industry professionals as well as organizers from DC’s progressive community.
Liane Scott, president, is an independent video producer and media instructor based in Washington, DC. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Film from Penn State University in 1987 and went on to complete the core courses of the Masters of Fine Arts Degree in Film at New York University. While in New York, Ms. Scott worked as a production coordinator for the award-winning commercial production house They Shoot Films and as an associate producer at Crest Films, a television production company that produced sports programming for CBS.
Family concerns brought her back to Washington DC where she began passing on her skills in media production to further the interests and concerns of the community. In 1999, Ms. Scott worked as the Media Arts Director for the Earth Conservation Corps. She went on to teach DCPS students to make the connection between potential career choices and traditional academic subjects through several DC Public School after-school programs. She has produced several documentaries, including I Apologize: A Closer Look at Kiddie Car Thefts, which profiled young offenders attempting to veer away from a path of crime and incarceration and The Ripple Effect: Our Stories, a youth-led documentary that documents the voices and struggles of girls and young women of color in Washington, DC’s Columbia Heights Neighborhood. More recently, Ms. Scott produced videos for hyperlocal news magazines in the District of Columbia such as Push Pause, which airs on Verizon Fios One and Broad Band Network 3, which is an online news media distribution center.
After 3 years as the head of Empower DC’s Grassroots Media Project, which launched in 2010 and provided training to DC residents in media production and documented the organizing work of Empower DC and allied movements throughout DC, she founded Grassroots Media DC.
Judith Davidson Hawkins, vice-president, is the Co-founder of You-Nique Services, Inc. and a Community Organizer at Bread for the City. Judith co-hosts Valencia’s It Is What It Is Mobile Talk Show. The show is an online platform for people who live in communities that are often ignored by mainstream media to tell their stories; and as a way to air local community events. Judith believes that media produced by and for the community is a powerful tool for social change. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video is worth a million. After 23 ½ years in the federal government she left her job and “invested” her “retirement funds” in raising homeless youth along with her childhood friend and now business partner Valencia Rutledge, who is the founder of You-Nique, Services, Inc. Judith is the mother of two adult children. She enjoys laughing, crocheting, reading, dancing and making people smile. Judith believes in miracles and knows that we can change the world, one person at a time.
Brenda Hayes, secretary, is a film director, radio producer and writer. Her work focuses on the arts in connection with social justice. Hayes is producer of the radio program This Light: Sounds for Social Change, which airs weekly on CPR Radio. The inspiration for This Light are the many socially conscious artists who are making their voices heard through their work. The artists featured on the radio program measure success by their ability to inform, inspire, and liberate; their work transcends trend and instead endeavors to connect with and express the universal desire and need to be free. As a platform for the socially conscious artist, THIS LIGHT employs the same venue used to anesthetized the general population and instead fills the airwaves with content that elevates thought, buoys the spirit and foments change. You may also hear Brenda’s voice on DC’s WPFW, or see her behind the scenes on set. Currently, she is working on the documentary An Examined Life that explores the hostilities between communities of color in the District of Columbia. Brenda specializes in script development and directing.
John Tuzcu, treasurer, is the founder of 24Lanterns, a professional video, audio, and
live streaming service based in Washington, DC. He has been making films for over a decade as a director, producer, editor, and cinematographer. He trained and worked at the Maine Media Workshops in 2010 and studied Film and Literature at Boğaziçi Üniversitisi in Istanbul in 2004 and received a BA in Philosophy, Literature and the History of Film from Miami University in 2007. He attended the 2014 Cannes Film Festival as an editor with the short film *The Housewife*. He works in both film and video, and has made documentaries, shorts, experimental and essay films that have been shown all around the world.