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In keeping with our mission of covering important issues and helping community media makers tell their stories, Making Contact is pleased to announce it’s 1st class of Community Storytelling Fellows!
Our inaugural class of fellows is Lateef McLeod, Aqueila M. Lewis and Rochelle Robinson. Lateef will began working with us now. Aquila will join us September and Rochelle will begin her project in January of 2015.
Over the course of the next year, each fellow will work with the Making Contact team in our studio in downtown Oakland. This paid, 10 week fellowship will offer our 1st class of storytellers access to our radio and digital media equipment. We will provide training in studio tools, audio production and social media and each fellow brings their individual expertise and lived experience. Together we will work to produce 8 minute radio segments in addition to blog posts and web updates for each project.
The Making Contact team was impressed by the thoughtfulness and passion displayed by our pool of applicants and felt that each of the fellow not only presented an intriguing story idea, but also lived experience and impressive levels of understanding of the social, cultural and political underpinnings of their issues.
Meet our fellows:
Award-winning Author, Lateef McLeod will be reporting on his experience as a person who uses Augmentative and Alternative Communication. Lateef is building his career as a motivational speaker, spoken word artist, and author. He has earned a BA in English from UC Berkeley and a MFA in Creative Writing from Mills College. He published his first poetry book entitled A Declaration Of A Body Of Love in 2010 chronicling his life as a black man with a disability and tackling various topics on family, dating, religion, spirituality, his national heritage and sexuality.
He is also working on a novel tentatively entitled The Third Eye is Crying. He was in the 2007 annual theater performance of Sins Invalid and also their artist-in-residence performance in 2011 entitled Residence Alien. He is now working with Sins Invalid as an intern and looking forward to his fellowship with Making Contact.
Bay Area native Aqueila M. Lewis has been writing poetry since she was in high school and has explored several other forms of artistic expression including composing, dancing, singing, modeling, spoken word and journalism. Lewis writes poetry in relation to her experiences and trauma with childhood sexual abuse, adult rape and sexual assault and is featured in the documentary You and Me and the Fruit Trees. She has over a decade of professional journalism experience and for ten years has volunteered and serves as Entertainment Chair for the annual Empowering Women of Color Conference at UC Berkeley.
Lewis is a graduate of Napa Valley College, UC Berkeley and KPFA Radio’s First Voice Media Apprenticeship Program. Most recently, Lewis’ work has been published in Sistah’s With Ink Voices anthology. And she is currently writing children’s books on social justice and community.
Rochelle Robinson is a Black feminist cultural worker and writer who believes in the words of Sweet Honey in the Rock: “those of us who believe in freedom cannot rest until it comes.” In her work and activism, Rochelle addresses multiple oppressions particularly faced by Black women and women of color through critical analysis, personal and collective struggles.
When she is not writing, this Bay Area transplant spends time with family and friends. She loves to read and is an indie film buff and foodie.
Making Contact’s mission is to produce media that engage and informs diverse communities in the making of media and showcase the power of first-person storytelling. Check out our archive of stories and check the website for more work from our fellows.