For the last 2 ½ years, Marie Marchand has done her part to raise up voices from the greater Bellingham community. As host and co-producer of BTV’s Bellingham Voices, a show aired on the city’s public-access station, Marchand’s mission is to grow her audience’s appreciation for Bellingham local government, nonprofits, and community leadership.
While Marchand envisioned the show to spotlight city council members wanting to discuss their opinions, goals, and legislation, Bellingham Voices now encompasses all sorts of local leaders.
One of Marchand’s favorite episodes featured local artist, Mira Kamada, whose paintings were on display in city hall, where Marchand works. Ideas for guests often come to Marchand this way, naturally, she said. Marchand, whose co-producers include Dal Neitzel and D.J. Brown, has free rein on interview questions and topics.
“I never have a shortage of people to interview. As an ordinary citizen, I must have the same questions as a lot of our community,” said Marchand, a legislative assistant for Bellingham’s city council. The show is a venue to build further understanding for issues people may not know about or want to discuss, she said. Marchand’s September episode centered on the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and discussion on mental health stigmas and stereotypes. “We are putting faces to issues that receive less attention than they should,” she said. Marchand said she encourages people to reach out to her with suggestions for future guests.
Bellingham Voices is all about acting as a platform for social justice and social issues, Marchand said. The power of the camera is vital to finding solutions to today’s problems and refusing to ignore the trauma of those of the past. October’s episode will host Dr. Sandra Alfers, founder of The Ray Wolpow Institute for the Study of the Holocaust, Genocide, and Crimes Against Humanity at Western Washington University. Viewers can watch the monthly episodes of Bellingham Voices on BTV (Comcast Channel 10 in standard definition, Channel 321 in high definition) or online on the City of Bellingham’s official YouTube channel.