Copyright 2005
Girl's Best Friend Foundation

Girl's Best Friend Foundation (GBF) closed November 2007. 
GBF’s records are archived with Special Collections of the University
of Illinois, Chicago.  In fall 2008, they will be made public:

Grantee Profile: Beyondmedia Education

Since 2000, Beyondmedia Education has promoted the voices of marginalized and underserved girls and young women by creating alternative media that tell their unique stories and position their perspectives on issues affecting their lives. 

A core program of Beyondmedia, Girls! Action! Media! workshops fosters leadership development, public speaking, and community activism skills while teaching media/technology, arts, and academic skills. Young women learn to produce effective advocacy tools such as documentaries and media events, develop strategies for social justice organizing, and become media activists. Beyondmedia Education has partnered with more than 100 community-based organizations to document and historicize the lives of underrepresented communities.

Zaida Sanabia, a participant in a Girls! Action! Media! workshop in 2000, collaborated with Beyondmedia to make "A Fish (Almost) Eaten By a Shark," currently screening in film festivals throughout the Americas. Schools and organizations also use it as a training tool on the effects of homophobia. A new Spanish version just premiered in Mexico! Now 20 years old and a Beyondmedia staff member, Zaida conducts screenings with discussions across the Chicago metropolitan area and is a team leader in a current Beyondmedia production, "Can LGBTQ + School = Safe?", a video and website designed to assist queer youth in organizing for safe schools. She received the Chicago Foundation for Women's Ripple Effect award as "a shining example of the triumph of women and girls when given the opportunity."

These projects are testaments to the power that collaborative action can have when girls are given supportive and creative opportunities to bring voice to their visions. As the 2005 recipient of the Crossroads Fund's Ron Sable Award for Activism, Beyondmedia continues to work towards social and political justice through public awareness, critical dialogues, and increased visibility of women and girls.

Beyondmedia's partnership with the Empowered Fe Fes has resulted in the first-ever media arts curriculum for girls with disabilities. In their 2004 workshop, the young women produced a video, "Beyond Disability: The Fe Fe Stories," now screening at film festivals nationwide and schools across the Chicago metropolitan area, with post-discussions facilitated by the girls themselves. The video equips disabled girls to educate diverse audiences about their lives and issues. Most recently, the film was awarded the Spirit Award and the Achievement Award at Superfest International Disability Film Festival. Through the transformative act of creating a film about their own experiences, the girls report feelings of empowerment and accomplishment. As one Fe Fe emphatically states in the film, "People have been telling me my whole life that I can’t do this or I shouldn’t try that. Now when someone says that, I just hand them a copy of the movie I made to show them they're wrong."

A 2005 collaboration with Sisters Empowering Sisters resulted in "Respect Me, Don't Media Me," an incisive examination of how corporate media affect women and girls. Looking at the portrayals of women in music videos and other media, the makers ask: What do these kinds of portrayals mean for young women? How do they affect our lives, our decisions, our relationships? What can we do to change them?

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