Since 1994 Making Contact has produced media that analyzes critical issues and showcases grassroots solutions that inform and inspire audiences to action.
Our work amplifies marginalized voices and prioritizes storytelling done by and for the communities most directly impacted by the issues we cover.
In 2014 we created our Community Storytelling Fellowship Program to continue and expand on this important work.
The fellowship is a 10-week paid immersion in audio storytelling where fellows work directly with Making Contact producers and staff.
Together they tell personal stories that aren’t otherwise heard on the radio, learn media production skills and reach new audiences.
Our fellows are each talented and dedicated community members. Together we create stories that:
Link grassroots issues and human realities to national or international trends.
Give listeners a historical, political or social context of major national and international events.
Shed light on social and economic inequalities.
Explore any alternatives or solutions, or highlight efforts underway to solve the problem.
Isabella Zizi and Vincent Medina our Indigenous Leader Fellows
Click to learn about Vince
Vincent Medina is an active force in the revitalization of Chochenyo, a Native language historically spoken here in the East Bay. Through the study of field notes and wax cylinders, Vincent has both uncovered the language’s history and discovered patterns to support Chochenyo as a living, breathing vessel for modern communication and contemporary Ohlone identity. Find his blog on all things “Ohlone in the 21st Century” at ohlone.tumblr.com
Click to learn about Al
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. Thus far, 44 of the 50 men he worked with have been released.
Click to learn about Alice
Alice Wong, MS, proudly claims several identities: Asian American, woman, disabled person and big-time nerd. As a disability rights activist in the San Francisco Bay Area for more than 18 years, Alice keeps all my work and activism inter-sectional. There is no one ‘disability’ experience and in every community there is a diverse spectrum of understanding and perspectives.
Alice spends most days as a Staff Research Associate at the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, UCSF. There she works on various research projects for the Community Living Policy Center, a Rehabilitation Research and Training Center. She is also an author of online curricula for home care providers and caregivers for Elsevier’s College of Personal Assistance and Caregiving.
Alice is also playing an important role documenting the stories of individuals with disabilities. Currently, she is the Project Coordinator for the Disability Visibility Project, a community partnership with StoryCorps. The Disability Visibility Project is a grassroots effort collecting oral histories of Americans with disabilities celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Alice is also an Advisory Board member of APIDC (Asian Pacific Islanders with Disabilities of California) and a Presidential appointee to the National Council on Disability (until September 2015), an independent federal agency charged with advising the President, Congress, and other federal agencies on disability policy.
Ingrid Rojas Contreras
Click to learn about Ingrid
Ingrid Rojas Contreras is the 2014 recipient of the Mary Tanenbaum Literary Award in Nonfiction. She is a 2015 fellow at the San Francisco Writer’s Grotto and is 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 (University of Nebraska Press) and American Odysseys: Writings by New Americans (Dalkey Archive Press). Currently, she is working on a nonfiction book about her grandfather, a medicine man who it is said could move clouds.
Click to learn about Ivan
Ivan Rodriguez was born and raised in Los Angeles to parents who immigrated from Mexico to make a better life for their family. He is the first generation in his family to seek a higher education in this country. 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 use 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.
Click to learn about Lateef
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.
Aqueila M. Lewis
Click to learn about Aqueila
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.
Click to learn about Rochelle
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 is an Equal Opportunity Employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, gender, sexual preference, gender identity and expression, national origin, religion, disability, or economic status. Making Contact is an affirmative action employer. We actively recruit applications from women, people of color, LGBTQ folks, and disabled people.