PHOTO RECAP: National Social Biography Media Boot Camp!

Much gratitude to the participatory defense hubs who came to our first ever Social Biography Media Boot Camp (May 18th-22nd), where we taught organizations from 15 different cities on how to produce social biography packets and videos to impact the outcome of cases. At our intensive five day training held in San Francisco at the Google Community Space, organizations learned how to communicate the fuller truth of their loved ones to challenge and reduce charges and sentences and bring them home from incarceration. Each hub (coming from states such as Tennessee, Maryland, Washington, New York, Pennsylvania and California) brought a photo, and told the story of, a person they wanted to make a social biography packet or social biography video for to prevent or reduce an incarceration. They learned about narrative construction, how to collect and present records, how to create purposeful character letters, how to use camera and editing equipment, how to best support public, and more. Each hub produced a packet and a video during the camp. They worked tirelessly, and returned home with new tools, as well as a fully stocked media production equipment package to use! Here are some pics from the incredible gathering!


We were proud to have our partners from all over the country — and also meant the world to us to have some of the most incredible freedom fighter organizations in California joining us at the camp! Here is Youth Justice Coalition, CURYJ, Fathers and Families of San Joaquin about to start Day 1 of the Social Biography Media Boot Camp!


Andrew from Fathers and Families of San Joaquin shares in the introductory day as to why family stories should highlighted when courts are making decisions about peoples lives.


Carnell from East Palo Alto shows participatory defense hubs from across the country the social biography packet he made years ago. That packet that described his role as a single father, and was one of our first packets, is what he and his attorney used to turn a five year prison sentence into a six month out patient drug program. 


Hubs collaborated on coming up with narrative construction, themes, records, and imagery for their respective social biography packets. They also learned the technical parts of scanning and editing photos, and design/layout.


Through an equipment grant with Google, each hub was able to receive a media production package (video camera, laptop, audio equipment) to produce high quality social biography packets and videos!


After being trained on how to operate the camera, interview techniques, and filming techniques, each hub did mock interviews based on the case they brought to the camp with their new equipment.


After conducting their interviews, Social Bio Media Boot Camp participants learned how to edit their footage into powerful and effective videos.


Santa Clara County Public Defender Sajid Khan gave a session at the camp as to how to best assist an attorney through social biography videos and packets. In the workshop, he shared an example of how he used a video produced by De-Bug as part of his larger strategy to significantly reduce a sentence for a juvenile.


On the last day of the camp, participants shared the videos they completed to one another.


Every participant received a graduation certificate for all of their hard work! And believe us — they earned em!

Mamma Nia from Spirit House closed us out with a call and response song! Cause, yup, We Are Climbing Up the Mountain!!!


Thank you to our participatory defense partners for our five days together! This is the movement that will be keep families and communities together!


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