Baltimore Speaks (Photo/film screenshot)


Up to $60,000 in funding to be awarded for media projects promoting vaccination

Black Public Media (BPM) is inviting Michigan and North Carolina creatives to join health care professionals and other stakeholders at its upcoming Black Media Story Summit for a day of conversation, networking, idea building and more on adult vaccine hesitancy in BIPOC communities. Filmmakers, creative technologists and other media storytellers attending the March 3 virtual conference will then be eligible to submit proposals and vie for up to $60,000 in funding for production of short-form projects that boost receptivity of COVID-19, influenza and other adult vaccines.

The online event begins at 10:00 a.m. ET and is free with registration. Media makers, health care providers and the general public, can register for the online event at  

Santita Jackson, host of “The Santita Jackson Show,” on Chicago’s WCPT 820, the nation’s largest Progressive Talk Radio station, will deliver the keynote address: “It’s Been 3 Years… Now What?” Other sessions will explore ways to improve Black people’s trust in the medical community, and the mental health effects of the vaccine and pandemic on young adults. Those sessions will be moderated by Michigan-based orator G. Foster, of The Diatribe, and North Carolina media maker Crishna Murray, respectively.

Covid Conversations (Photo/film screenshot)

In 2022, BPM held its first vaccine-related Black Media Story Summit in Baltimore, awarding a total of $120,000 in grants to two short film projects promoting adult vaccination in the mid-Atlantic city. Grantees were Fearless Video, helmed by Julian Hamer and Yessica Hernandez-Cruz, and AphroChic, led by Jeanine Hays and Bryan Mason. Both projects will be screened at the upcoming Black Media Story Summit – Michigan and North Carolina. Hamer and Hernandez will speak about their winning digital series Covid Conversations.

“As we enter the fourth year of the pandemic, it is clear that some of the most effective efforts against COVID-19 are those that are community based and community focused. We look forward to hearing new ideas and thoughts from creatives and artists on ways to break through the vaccine hesitancy that touches our communities,” said Leslie Fields-Cruz, executive director of BPM, a Harlem-based national media arts nonprofit dedicated to creating and producing media content about the Black experience.

BPM’s Black Media Story Summits bring together creatives, film and television industry executives, thought leaders, community stakeholders, and others to explore innovative approaches to media story development on critical issues facing Black people across the U.S. Past summits have covered such issues as mass incarceration, environmental justice, health and immigration.

BPM has partnered with the National Network to Innovate for COVID-19 and Adult Vaccine Equity (NNICE) to develop media strategies to improve vaccination rates among African American and Latinx adults. NNICE is funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as part of their National Partnering for Vaccine Equity Initiative. Additional support for the Black Media Story Summit – Michigan and North Carolina is provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

ASL interpreting services will be provided for the event.


Black Public Media (BPM) supports the development of visionary content creators and distributes stories about the global Black experience to inspire a more equitable and inclusive future. For more than 40 years, BPM has addressed the needs of unserved and underserved audiences. BPM continues to address historical, contemporary, and systemic challenges that traditionally impede the development and distribution of Black stories. For more information, visit and follow BPM on Instagram and Facebook and @BLKPublicMedia on Twitter.