Anthem Club: Sarah Springer, Co-Founder, Advocates for Inclusion in Media
The Anthem Club is a professional networking and convening space for folks who work in the social impact community. Held by humans across non-profits and digital organizing, as well as journalists, documentary filmmakers, creatives and marketers, the Anthem Club is a digital and offline squad that comes together to share what’s working on the ground and inspire each other to build new dynamics for a better future.
Was there a moment in your life when you knew you wanted to pursue a career in social impact work?
The moment I knew I HAD to pursue a career in social impact work through storytelling was in 2005, my sophomore year of high school. I was required to take a journalism class and decided to write an investigative piece covering the racism happening to Black students on campus. The story focused on a subject that the school administration and the community often ignore. So, when the story came out, it forced many people in positions of power to rethink how they handled and protected students suffering from discrimination at school. They then had to create policy around the issue, and from there, I was hooked. It was incredible to see how storytelling could impact the way people viewed a problem and their actions to change things for the better. After that, I went to USC to study journalism and have been telling stories to impact change ever since.
What was your first job in social impact?
I’ve always used storytelling and journalism to bring awareness to issues about underrepresented individuals, so my first official “job” doing this was as an AP for the In America Unit with Soledad O’Brien at CNN. We covered stories about education, race, ethnicity, class, etc., and that experience opened my eyes even more to the possibilities of impact through truth-telling via story.
What advice would you give to young people who would like to pursue a career in social impact?
The advice I would give young people who would like to pursue impactful storytelling or impact producing in media is to be mindful of their mental health and take care of themselves by setting boundaries and maintaining a strong sense of community. So often, spaces requiring people to navigate white supremacy and topics involving human suffering with a desire for change can lead to depression, burnout, and hopelessness. However, they must understand that there will be ups and downs in this work and life, so keep striving for truth and intentionally maintaining a healthy approach to the work for an even healthier outlook and peace of mind.
What is the role or project you have been a part of that you are most proud of?
The role I am most proud of is being Co-Founder of Advocates For Inclusion in Media. When David Yi and I started the organization in 2015, we had no idea what impact we could make. And now, six years later, we continue to include our advocacy work in everything we do. Every piece, project, idea, team we work with; every aspect of what we do has community, accurate representation, parity, and equity in mind. Being a part of and facilitating that makes me incredibly proud, and I hope we can continue to make an impact through AIM.
What is your dream social impact project?
My dream social impact project is a virtual social gathering I’ve already had the pleasure of starting with three incredible women called, A Day Of Release (ADOR). This one-day event provided space for people to stop and reflect on their unique abilities and let go of what they felt was holding them back.
A Day of Release called many to share a piece of themselves (artwork, a song, an idea) that they were afraid to share or felt held them back from being all they could be. My dream is for ADOR to continue to grow. And on the same day, at the same time, we all shared something to release that energy into the world so that we could breathe again, and most importantly, continue to thrive. Ava Duvernay, one of the most talented out there, even joined in, showing us that we all hold back at times, and that’s okay. We are all human beings, and with support from one another, we can do and be anything we want to be.
I would love to see this project continue to advance our communities and go beyond social media and into communities worldwide. In fact, one of the collaborators on the project, someone I respect so much, recently told me the same. We hope that we can come together, in person and in community, to heal by letting go of what holds us back so we can take a deep breath and release.
What is your favorite past or present campaign or piece of work (i.e., book, film, etc.)
My favorite piece that I am currently working on is a book I am writing with a dear friend about what a future world could look like if Black people were truly free. I have reflected on this idea of freedom a million times throughout my life, and by knowing the power of the imagination, we believe we can use that power to bring our hopes for freedom to life. The practice of writing in and of itself has helped us expand our imaginations, and by putting our hopes and practical strategies into a book that we feel is also entertaining, we hope that our story can one day come to life. As Black people, we have a power in storytelling that runs deep in our veins from our beginnings in ancient Africa, and throughout our lives, many have tried to strip us of this power, but it can and will always be revived. We hope that this book can help others realize their own power in their own stories and use that to change the world.