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AMERICAblog at SXSW, "Waging Stories with Social Media"

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UPDATE @ 8:39 PM: Well, we had the panel this afternoon. The twitter feed on our panel is here and gives a good sense of the discussion. The hash tag was #SXstory power (every SXSW panel has its own hashtag.) It went well. We weren't sure what to expect. But, we had a good crowd and good response. Unfortunately, Jose Antonio Vargas had a family emergency so couldn't join us. But, we shared Jose's story by playing the start of his Define American video.

This weekend, I'm in Austin for the South by Southwest conference. SXSW has been known mostly as a film and music festival, but there's an increasing focus on its third area: Interactive. That's why I'm here.

Along with Jackie Mahendra from, the most amazing DREAMer Felipe Matos, GetEQUAL's Heather Cronk and Jose Antonio Vargas, I'm on an interactive panel. Last summer, Jose, who is gay, came out as undocumented. Since then, he's been doing a amazing work through his organization, Define American.

Our panel is titled, Still Invisible? Waging Stories with Social Media. The genesis was the panel Jackie and I put together for last year's Netroots Nation on thehow netroots forced action on the DREAM Act and DADT repeal. Heather and Felipe were on that panel with Jackie and me. We're on the schedule for Sunday, March 11 at 2:30 PM CT/3:30 PM ET.

Here's the panel description:

What does it mean to wage a story? In this panel, Pulitzer prize-winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas describes the moment of coming out as an undocumented immigrant, an "outlaw" in his own country. He explores the ways in which his radically visible story traveled from the New York Times to Facebook to Youtube and back -- and forced a toxic national debate into a human frame. As context for Jose's incredible story, Joe Sudbay, Deputy Editor of AMERICABlog, describes how bold, hi-tech storytelling transformed the political calculus during the waning months of the last Congress and landed him in a meeting with President Obama at the White House. Felipe Matos takes us on a journey that reinvents what it means to push for civil rights: a 1,500 mile walk from Miami to DC, tweeted at every turn.These hypervisible, once-invisible stories are changing what we thought we knew about the communities that are "coming out," as well as how to tap the power of social media to ignite change.
This is my first time at SXSW and I'm pretty excited to be here. It feels like Netroots Nation on steroids.

I love Austin. Looking forward to seeing the crew from GetEQUAL TX while I'm here.

And, AMERICAblog's Chris in Paris is here, too!

UPDATE: Rich Lopez from the Dallas Voice has an article listing the LGBT-related events at SXSW.

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