Students to host Mindful Media Day

Micaela Wong, Managing Editor

Paly seniors Nura Mostaghimi and Lia Salvatierra, two coordinators of the Mindful Media Conference, discuss the planning process and their goals for the conference. “The focus of the event is [to] have meaningful conversations and encourage participants to see how they can advocate for a cause that falls within the categories addressed,” Mostaghimi said. Photo: Micaela Wong

The first ever Mindful Media Conference will be held on Saturday from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the Palo Alto Art Center. 

The event, which is organized by four high school students from Palo Alto, is open to the community. All four students are members of the Santa Clara County headspace Youth Advisory Group, a group which aims to “support the creation of a meaningful youth space, and reduce stigma in mental health,” according to its website.

According to Palo Alto High School senior Nura Mostaghimi, a co-organizer of the event, the initial idea behind the Mindful Media Conference was to protest the second season of Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why, a TV series about a teenage girl who takes her own life and leaves recordings explaining why she chose to do so. 

“The idea for having this event originated as a protest in front of Netflix headquarters demanding that producers reconsider and take down the Netflix Orginal Series, 13 Reasons Why,” Mostaghimi said.

However, the idea evolved into the Mindful Media Conference to “collaboratively evaluate current media portrayal of a variety of pressing topics,” co-organizer Paly senior Lia Salvatierra said. The other co-organizers of the event include Henry M. Gunn High School senior Zoe Adelsheim and junior Nikki Kovacevic.

The conference will have guest speakers, breakout sessions for discussion, booths and more, Mostaghimi said.

“We will begin with a keynote presentation from a former Gunn student, and current sophomore at Stanford [University], Chloe Sorenson,” Mostaghimi said. “Subsequently, we will have breakout sessions where participants can engage in conversations with fellow community members about topics such as how the media portrays [and] misportrays gun violence, sexual assault, substance abuse and mental health. As all of this is happening, there will be organizations from across the county with booths set up containing information about the work they do, resources they offer, and ways for youth to advocate and support their efforts.”

According to Salvatierra, the planning process, which included advertising and reaching out to sponsors was  “challenging.”

“A lot of the process has been discussing how we want to approach topics and what involvement we have wanted from outside organizations and groups,” Salvatierra said.

Mostaghimi said that although this is currently the only event planned by YAG so far, there will be more to come.

“YAG is constantly tabling at events and having conversations with community members about mental health advocacy, one of the many topics we look at,” Mostaghimi said. “We hope that students will take the time to come to our event, whether that be for 30 minutes or a few hours. Our goal is to spark meaningful conversations and inspire change.”

If you need immediate assistance, the Santa Clara County Suicide and Crisis Hotline is available at 1-855-278-4204 at any time. These numbers are also available on the back of student ID cards. If you feel you or someone you know needs immediate support, please call 911.

Flier for the Mindful Media Conference