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“Community work highlights the united participation of citizens to develop activities that improve the image of our community”

The Reframed Stories Project asks people to respond to dominant themes and issues that appear in news coverage about their communities. These stories are reflections by people who are frequently represented by others in the media. Word clouds are created using the Media Cloud platform, a data analysis tool which examines a collection of media outlets over a specific period of time, allowing participants to analyze and discuss the preliminary insights into how they might be represented in the media. The project refrains from making conclusive pronouncements about the data, and instead is a starting point that creates space for discussion about how they can help shape their own media representation through digital media.

Gamaliel Bautista Sánchez is from the community of San Luis Beltrán and a member of Guelaguetza Radio, a community radio station broadcasting in the state of Oaxaca, Mexico. The following is an excerpt of the audio podcast of Gamaliel's comment about the word cloud for the term “tequio, which is used in Mexico to describe collective work in service to one's community.

Dominant words from 836 articles published between May 2017 and May 2018 mentioning “tequio” (collective work in service to the community) within two Media Cloud collections of Mexico’s Spanish-language media outlets. (view larger image).

Al escuchar la palabra ‘tequio’ inmediatamente nos remonta al estado de Oaxaca ya que es una característica de los oaxaqueños como nos miran al exterior pues es el trabajo comunitario donde se destaca la participación de los ciudadanos de manera unida para desarrollar actividades que mejoran la imagen de nuestra comunidad como son trabajos de limpieza, rehabilitación y rescate de espacios públicos sin remuneración económica.

En nuestro estado, las autoridades han querido implementar esta cultura como estrategia de gobierno, adaptando el conocimiento de los pueblos originarios a las políticas de gobierno, sin embargo, podemos darnos cuenta que el tequio es mas que eso, es una forma de vida, convivencia, unidad y organización en nuestras comunidades, tan es así que los ciudadanos de alguna comunidad originaria que llegan a radicar a la capital, conservan su sistema tradicional desarrollando estas mismas actividades en beneficio de su nueva comunidad.

Por otro lado existen tendencias a querer minimizar este sistema de trabajo colectivo basada en el conocimiento ancestral, por lo que es una responsabilidad de las comunidades, organizaciones y ciudadanos practicantes de forma de organización, la difusión y conservación de este patrimonio intangible de nuestros pueblos originarios.

Seeing the word ‘tequio’ immediately takes us back to the state of Oaxaca, since [collective work] is a characteristic of Oaxacans and its how they see us from abroad. Community work highlights the united participation of citizens to develop activities that improve the image of our community, such as cleaning, rehabilitation, and rescue of public spaces all without economic compensation.

In our state, the authorities have wanted to implement this culture as a government strategy, adapting indigenous peoples’ knowledge to government policies. However, we realize that the tequio is more than that, it is a way of life, coexistence, unity, and organization in our communities. When citizens of the indigenous community settle in the capital, they tend to keep their traditional system developing these same activities for the benefit of their new community.

On the other hand, there are tendencies to want to minimize this system of collective work that is based on ancestral knowledge, so it is a responsibility of the communities, organizations, and practicing citizens to organize, disseminate and conserve this intangible heritage of our native peoples.

This is part of a Rising Frames series developed as part of an activity organized by the organization SURCO A.C. based in Oaxaca, Mexico. They helped organize a workshop held on May 29-30, 2018 in Oaxaca, Mexico that brought together representatives from various collectives and groups, especially from local community radio stations to examine how they or issues they care about are represented in a Mexican media collection and created stories in response to that representation.

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