9 out of 10 LGBTQ Students have been harassed because of their sexual orientation.  (http://www.glsen.org)

What does homophobia in schools look like? And how can we make schools safer spaces for LGBTQ students? In this short documentary, Sisters Action Media interviews students, teachers, administrators and community advocates about confronting homophobia in our schools.

Youth Producers: Rachel Pallmeyer, Temperance Sugest, Jessica Bernard, Nikkia Hooks, Shantel Morgan
Edited by: Rachel Pallmeyer and Temperance Surgest

Special Thanks to The Attic Youth Center, The  Ally Safe Schools Program at the Mazzoni Center and The Pennsylvania Student Equality Coalition. 


Sisters Action Media is FAAN Mail’s pilot youth media program for teen girls Philadelphia.



“I loved the profound messages that these young wonderful girls portrayed in their films. Keep up the great work!”

On Monday, June 25, Sisters Action Media presented their films at a well attended community screening at PhillyCAM studio in Philadelphia. We thank all of the family, friends and community members who came out to support us!

Community Screening at PhillyCAM!

Using audience feedback forms, attendees shared this feedback for the emerging filmmakers:

“It was raw, fresh and educational. I am so proud of you all. It was uplifting.”

“I enjoyed the participants enthusiasm and their mc’ing… also enjoyed the topics. Please continue to challenge norms and use the medium as a tool for social change.”

“I enjoyed it. The message that was represented in each film needs to be spread. Keep up with the good work.”

“Follow your passion and spread yourselves to some of our schools. I am a teacher in the district. Our 7th and 8th grade students can greatly benefit from this type of experience in all ways.”

“Excellent work. So proud and happy to see the young ladies learn to express [themselves] and opinions through media techniques.”

“I loved the girl that covered the truth on music lyrics! You gurls are awesome. Keep the great work going!”

“It was really awesome! It was great to see the girls explain how they felt about their films.”

“I enjoyed the variety of topics discussed through the videos. As a sex educator, I really enjoyed ‘A Learning Experience.’ Keep working towards your dream and push your friends to talk about these issues.”

“Keep preaching! Don’t ever let sexist culture shut you down.”

“I really enjoyed the message of all but I truly favored ‘Keep It Real'”.

“[I saw] young people with voices being able to articulate their ideas via professional media. [They were] able to see themselves, strengthen their message and resolve. Keep it moving!”

See the slideshow below for more photos of the screening.

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Sisters Action Media was made possible through support from The Leeway Foundation, The People’s Emergency Center and PhillyCAM.

“The most important thing I learned at Sisters Action Media was how to make a stand on something you believe in. I loved learning about the media and then applying it to an actual film that I made.”  – Singley

Sisters Action Media produced this video (edited by Singley Risico) in support of the Keep It Real Challenge, a campaign asking mainstream magazines to drop photoshop.

Sisters Action Media is FAAN Mail’s pilot youth media program for teen girls Philadelphia. Learn more about the Campaign on FAAN Mail’s website.

“When I’m listening to music or watching movies, I’m a lot more conscious of certain things that are being said or certain types of shots.” – Novella

In this short film, Sisters Action Media takes a look at the lyrics that are often overlooked in popular music. While unpacking the lyrics, the young women question whether people actually listen to the words or just nod their head to the beat. DJ Lisa Love then weighs in, offering her perspective as a well respected DJ in Philadelphia.

Youth Producers:
Sierra Horsey-Morris, Camisha Brown, Kaylah Stevenson, Novella Winborne, Singely Sirico

Edited by:
Sierra Horsey-Morris
Camisha Brown
Kaylah Stevenson

“My favorite part of Sisters Action Media was when we got our cameras and began to film. Also another one of my favorite parts  [was] meeting the other girls in the program. The most important thing I learned in SAM  is looking at media in a different way and always looking to see what the message is behind that picture, music video, etc. This program has affected me as a media maker, consumer, and human being  by making me feel that I have a greater responsibility and that I have a voice. Also I can change things through my filmmaking.  I enjoyed being a part of this program and I hope that  it goes on!!”

For her personal film, Kaylah chose to explore her interest in Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

Watch Kaylah’s film below:  “What is an HBCU?”

“I want to start making and editing my own films now.” – Nikkia



Nikkia’s short film “A Learning Experience” is about a teen girl who confronts her mother and cousin after her boyfriend pressures her to have sex before she is ready.

‎”I feel so much more empowered to create media and actually make a change after [Sisters Action Media]. It made me seriously reconsider my own abilities and sparked a drive to do more beyond the program.”

“I made an experimental film which follows my normal school day and my thoughts about it. I wanted to make it because my education is probably the biggest part of my life now, and I think a lot of high school-aged students can probably relate.”

Watch Rachel’s personal film, “My Life In A Day.”

Wafai Dias, a senior Journalism major at Temple University, recently covered Sisters Action Media for an assignment in her Television News course. Thank you, Wafai, for helping to document this program as you develop your own production skills!

This week students started editing footage for their personal films. We are using the program Final Cut Pro.


Students are exploring a range of topics in their films:

Teen girls and self-esteem
Peer pressure around sex
Mixed feelings about high school
Perceptions around Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs)
Standardized Testing in the college admissions process
and more….

We will post videos on our blog in the next few weeks. Stay tuned!

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What is our relationship to media? What are the purposes of media? How does media reflect and shape society? These are some of the media literacy questions we explored today. We applied these questions to three images – a magazine advertisement for lotion, a series of tweets about Chris Brown and a Facebook “Ghetto Booty Quiz.” (See below slide show).  Students identified both the obvious and subliminal messages found in these images.

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Our last activity in today’s workshop was a video scavenger hunt. In 20 minutes, students worked in small groups or pairs to shoot a range of shots and camera movements that emphasized distance, size, color and texture. Afterwards, we played back the videos and discussed.

We are using HD Canon Vixia cameras – thanks to Philly CAM!