By Antonio R. Harvey | OBSERVER Staff Writer
Kim Mims and Uumoiya Glass have an adrenaline-driven desire to communicate the work of the California Task Force to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African Americans.
Founders of the nonprofit Emend the Mass Media Group (ETM Media Group), Mims and Glass have been essential in disseminating the public affairs of a panel crafting a framework that could decide compensation for Black descendants of American slavery.
For more than two years, ETM Media Group, a digital advocacy agency that covers topics of major impact to the African American community, “is one, if not the only media outlet,” to extensively and continually report task force activities, Glass said.
Assembly Bill 3121 created the nine-member task force to investigate the history, harms and costs of slavery. The bill also requires that the task force recommend what compensation should be, who receives it and how it should be paid.
Mims and Glass have witnessed every meeting the task force has held, virtually and in person.
“ETM Media Group has livestreamed all 10 task force meetings to (our) YouTube channel to help raise awareness regarding the modern-day reparations movement,” Mims said. She added that ETM Media Group also provides technical and streaming services in Northern California for listening sessions run by the Coalition for a Just and Equitable California (CJEC), a nonprofit coalition of organizations fighting for reparations for the descendants of enslaved Black Americans. The coalition is one of seven “anchor organizations” sanctioned by the task force to host community listening sessions that ensure communities statewide have opportunity to provide thoughts and concerns about the task force’s work.
With 25 years of experience in public and media relations, Mims made her first splash in filmmaking and editing as a cinematographer for the “Colin Cross Show.” She studied mass communications at Sacramento State and has spent several years as a filmmaker liaison, in media relations and as an event photographer for the Sacramento International Film Festival. Mims served as a communication news assistant for the California Farm Bureau Association from 2008 to 2020.
Group members and other advocates testified at the first AB 3121 hearing in Sacramento in May 2020 and have provided updates throughout the legislative process. The bill was authored by Secretary of State Dr. Shirley Weber when she was in the Assembly and later signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom on Sept. 30, 2020. The task force, the nation’s first of its kind, first convened in June 2021.
ETM Media Group traveled to Los Angeles from Sacramento to livestream the 10th task force meeting Sept. 23-24 at the California Science Center and Wallis Annenberg Building in Exposition Park.
“(We traveled to Los Angeles) in person because it is important for our viewing audience to get a feel for the in-person energy that is present at live events,” Mims said.
Mims and Glass documented 18 hours of the two-day meeting, allowing Californians nationwide to view the task force’s activities. They prepare for these events by loading, unloading, setting up and breaking down their own equipment. In Los Angeles, Mims and Glass could be seen with their own space handling video cameras, microphones, multichannel recorders and mixers, headphones and laptop computers.
Glass’ résumé includes digital media, marketing, promotions, photography and audio content. He has spent many years working in film entertainment and music, and studied mass communications at Arizona State University.
This past year alone, ETM Media Group has participated in task force meetings and community listening sessions in San Francisco, Richmond, Oakland, Vallejo and Sacramento. Mims and Glass have documented reparations activities in Coloma concerning Black pioneers who once owned property where gold was discovered in the late 1840s.
With the assistance of CJEC Sacramento member Chris Lodgson, Mims and Glass have hosted online events and webinars regarding reparations with statewide organizations such as the American Redress Coalition of California, the Community Health Councils, and the National Assembly of American Slavery Descendants (NAASD).
“They have been the soldiers of this important type of work,” Lodgson said of ETM Media Group after a community listening session in Vallejo on Aug. 20. “We can’t do this work without them.”
ETM Media Group livestreamed events this past summer in Sacramento at the Capitol, at Juneteenth Celebrations and at their Capsity office space in Oak Park. Capsity supports local businesses, entrepreneurs, start-ups, contractors, nonprofits and other causes in the Sacramento region by providing space, resources and community.
Glass admitted obstacles can affect ETM Media Group’s work and communications strategies.
“From a technical and economic standpoint, livestreaming in-person meetings involves increased logistical planning and monetary expense,” Glass said. “ETM Media Group, like many Black-owned businesses, works on a shoestring budget to cover travel and equipment costs, which most of the time are paid out-of-pocket.”
Glass also pointed to common technical challenges working on-site. At the Los Angeles event, the California Science Center’s weak Wi-Fi connection limited ETM Media Group from livestreaming the early part of the meeting. Despite the disruptions, Mims and Glass were able to do interviews with members of the Black Los Angeles community.
Mims and Glass are finishing the first “and hopefully not the last installment” of “Reparations Now (The Documentary),” Mims said. The documentary is due this fall.
“This is a lot of work. Important work,” Glass told The OBSERVER by phone in August after staging three online reparations events in eight days. “But we’re the only ones that are doing it. We’re the ones that have been consistent about putting the information out there.”