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Announcing Making Contact’s 2015-16 Community Storytelling Fellows

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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 our 2nd class of Community Storytelling Fellows!

Welcome Al Sasser, Alice Wong, Ivan Rodriguez and Ingrid Rojas Contreras!

The fellows will work with us through early 2016 and will each produce an 8 minute radio segment in addition to blog posts and online content.

This is a paid, 10 week experiment in collaborative media making. Each fellow brings their individual expertise and lived experience and we provide training in studio tools, audio production and social media.

The Making Contact team was impressed by the thoughtfulness and passion displayed by our pool of applicants and felt that each of the fellows not only presented an intriguing story idea, but also their lived experience and impressive levels of understanding of the social, cultural and political underpinnings of their issues.

June 8th we’re launching a crowdfunding campaign for this year’s class of fellows.

Click here to find out how you can help.

More on our 2015 cohort

Our fellows illustrate the dynamic layers of communities in California, particularly those that are under represented in the dominant narratives of our society. Read more about our 2015 class.

Ingrid Rojas Contreras

Ingrid Rojas Contreras

Click for Ingrid's bio

Ingrid Rojas Contreras is the 2014 recipient of the Mary Tanenbaum Literary Award in Nonfiction, a 2015 fellow at the San Francisco Writer’s Grotto and in residence in Cassis, France, as part of the Bread Loaf Bakeless Camargo Fellowship. Her writing is forthcoming or has been anthologized in Guernica Annual, Wise Latinas and American Odysseys: Writings by New Americans and she is working on a nonfiction book about her grandfather, a medicine man who it is said could move clouds. Her Making Contact segment will focus on the stories and traditions that immigrants hold onto as they embrace a new country.
Al Sasser

Al Sasser

Click for Al's bio

Sentenced to 15 years to life at the age of 19, Al Sasser served 31 years I prison before being released in September 2013.  Education became his springboard toward change, as well as a mutual support system developed among a group of 50 men at the California State prison in Solano, CA. As one of Making Contact’s community Storytelling Fellows, Al will tell the story of how these men transformed themselves and the greater culture inside the prison walls, and have maintained a system of peer support on the outside.

Ivan Rodriguez

Click for Ivan's bio

Ivan Rodriguez was born and raised in Los Angeles to immigrant parents from Mexico. When he was young, a mentor told him he had the responsibility to speak for those who didn’t have a voice. He became active in community issues after watching his parents and other community members raise their voices to demand better education opportunities for local youth. Ivan wants to be the driving force of change in his community and his Making Contact story will focus on the institutional environmental racism plaguing the neighborhood where he grew up.
Alice Wong

Alice Wong

Click for Alice's bio

Alice Wong, MS, proudly claims several identities: Asian American, woman, disabled person and big-time nerd. As a disability rights activist for more than 18 years, Alice believes that there is no one ‘disability’ experience and in every community there is a diverse spectrum of understanding and perspectives. She spends most days as a Staff Research Associate at the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, UCSF. She is the Project Coordinator for the Disability Visibility Project, an Advisory Board member of APIDC (Asian Pacific Islanders with Disabilities of California) and a Presidential appointee to the National Council on Disability. Her Making Contact segment will focus on the relationship between disabled people and the at home care attendees that they work with.

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 show and blog archives for more work from our fellows.

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