The Detroit Documenters program trains and pays Detroiters to attend local public meetings and monitor our elected officials, in collaboration with local journalists. Hundreds of local residents are active in the program, bringing more transparency to local government through their meeting notes, live tweets and civic participation. This month we’re featuring creative writer and filmmaker, Documenter Christiana Beckley.
Christiana Beckley is a poet and creative writer who has recently become interested in journalism. She wants people to think more deeply about the issues that affect us, and she thinks using personal stories can help highlight real events and make factual information more relatable.
Being able to relate to people is also what drives Christiana to document public meetings. She tries to choose Documenters assignments based on their interests, which include the environment, housing and racial justice. By learning more about the people who make decisions about the issues she cares about, Christiana feels empowered to speak knowledgeably when sharing that information with other community members.
Some of Christiana’s favorite Detroit publications are Metro Times, Planet Detroit, Riverwise Magazine and Runner Magazine, which is not actually about running but arts and culture. Christiana said the most recent article she wrote for Riverwise is leading to a new chapter in their life, working with other political organizers who are creating a ballot initiative to stop the expansion of Camp Grayling, the largest military base in Michigan, in order to keep public forests usable, pristine and protected.
Scroll down to read more about Christiana and how you can join the environmental justice movement and/or connect with them on creative film projects.
Documenters, fill out your own Community Profile for your chance to be featured.
What I do:
I am a filmmaker, writer and nature freak. I am also an activist/organizer.
What I love about it:
I love to tell stories and hope to open peoples’ minds and hearts to new ideas or ways of relating to each other and the world around them.
One thing I want to get from the Documenters community:
I want to be engaged and aware of what’s happening in local government.
One thing I can give to the Documenters community:
I am quite engaged in activism — specifically environmental, racial, and abolition. I am plugged into networks around these issues and if you’d like to get involved in any of these movements – please reach out to me! I am also always looking to be involved in meaningful or creative film projects — and have 11 years of experience on sets doing everything from acting to directing.
Which music album do you go back to over and over again?
“Channel Orange” – Frank Ocean.
It’s the only music I can listen to any day, any time, and enjoy it. The album as a whole tells a story that feels very relatable to me despite myself and Frank being very different individuals. I also grew up in LA and the nostalgic and self-reflective tone of it put me in a tranquil mood.
How you can reach me:
@cb.laine on Instagram