On December 22, the media literacy education community lost one of its founders – Elizabeth Thoman.
It’s impossible to underestimate how important Liz was to the push for media literacy education in the United States. I know that many will remember her through her myriad public and published works. But what I most admired about Liz was her willingness to do the behind the scenes drudgery that no one else was willing to take on and for which there were no public accolades. I can’t even begin to count the number of times she stepped up at critical moments. Those are the things that the world rarely sees, but in many ways, had the most lasting effects. None of us who are involved in media literacy education would be where we are had it not been for Elizabeth Thoman’s efforts. I will remember her with deep gratitude and a sense of honor to have been her colleague.
For some history on Liz, check out this tribute by Renee Hobbs: https://mediaedlab.com/2016/12/23/grieving-part-iii/
Psalm 30 advises us to turn our mourning into dancing so that our souls might sing praises and not be stilled. Let’s not let mourning still our souls. In Liz’s honor this holiday season,
- Talk to a teacher, youth worker, school administrator, or librarian about why media literacy education is important and connect them with resources that can help them integrate media literacy into their work.
- Make a donation to your favorite media literacy organization.
- Find a teachable moment to use media literacy education to make the world a more thoughtful, just, and joyful place.
RIP Elizabeth Thoman. Zichrona livracha – may her memory be for a blessing.