The 2021 MediaJustice Network Fellows are HERE! And we couldn’t be more excited to build with and fight alongside these 12 incredible organizers, artists, media-makers and change leaders. Over the next 8 months, Fellows will develop an intersectional media justice lens to apply to the current media and technology landscape of monopoly ownership, the digital divide, racialized disinformation, and surveillance. With the support of this year’s MJNF Mentors, each Fellow will create their own project, applying insights from the fellowship to their work using transformative media organizing principles and frameworks. These projects and the Fellowship as a whole will support long-term power-building in the fight for a future where we are all connected, represented, and free. Learn more about each of our Fellows and their work below!
William Bentley (he/ him)
Nominating Network Member: Movement Alliance Project
William Bentley joined YASP’s staff as Youth Organizer in February 2019. William was born in North Philadelphia. In 2014, when William was just 14 years old he was sent to P.I.C.C. (an adult jail.) William met Sarah through his friend Terrance “TA” Williams. After meeting her, William’s life drastically changed. After losing TA to a shooting in North Philadelphia, William realized he had to change his lifestyle. William made up his mind that he wants to become a public speaker to teach the youth on not falling in the same footsteps he once did. William is also an underground North Philadelphia music artist. He is using his music to let people know what being incarcerated at such a young age does to you.
Watching and reading: I enjoy watching Harry Potter movies and I love the books even more.
Ryan Crane (he/they/ryan)
Nominating Network Member: Alternate Roots
Ryan (raven) Crane is a black, trans-gender-non conforming, gulf south native, multidisciplinary artist, critical thinker, arts organizer, and curator. They use archival exploration, black queer feminist praxis, collaboration, and other material mediums to explore blackness as troubling to gender and inherently queer. He is interested in how black fugitivity and refusal engage in space, inheritance, and memory under colonialism, as well as how black bodies move through “borders” fictitious and real globally. They are deeply invested and passionate about collective power within black +/ indigenous and people of color communities and how they relate to the land.
Reading: The Black Shoals by Tiffany Lethabo King;
Find Ryan online: blackbrownbiennale.org
Michaé De La Cuadra (she/they)
Nominating Network Member: [email protected] Coalition + Dignity & Power Now
Michaé (they/she) is a Mexican / Ecuadorian trans femme artist, organizer, and policy expert based in Los Angeles, CA (Occupied Tongva Land). Currently, Michaé is working full time with the [email protected] Coalition as the Manager of Policy and Community Engagement, where she is helping to increase the political presence of trans folx of color and working toward accountability from political systems through trans-inclusive legislation. Over the last 3 years, she has worked to draft and pass trans-inclusive legislation that improves the livelihood of transgender, gender non-binary, and intersex (TGI) people across the state of California. She was integral to the passage of AB 2218 (Transgender Wellness and Equity Fund) and SB 132 (Transgender Respect, Agency, and Dignity Act). Furthermore, she is an artist in her own right who uses mediums such as performance, music and writing to challenge societal norms. She has been featured in Teen Vogue, the Los Angeles Blade, the Intercept, among others.
Kyler Edsitty (he/him)
Nominating Network Member: Native Public Media
Kyler is a Northern Arizona University graduate with Bachelor’s degrees in Journalism and Women & Gender Studies. Previous NAU Lumberjack Assistant Section Editor and current Administrative Assistant at Native Public Media. Interested in writing and creating content about issues concerning Indigenous and Queer identity and TV and pop culture. Passionate about bringing awareness to problems not usually reported on and giving voice to people who don’t have a large platform.
Watching: A24 Films
Salima Hamirani (she/her)
Nominating Network Member: Making Contact/The International Radio Project
Salima is an Oakland-based radio journalist who earned her chops as a producer for KPFA’s Apex Express and as the Friday host and producer of their morning drive-time show called Up Front. She currently works as a producer for Making Contact. She doesn’t have a main beat. But, she loves covering prison and surveillance, war and its legacies, Islamophobia and the war on terror, climate justice, and immigration. She’s also a struggling fiction and speculative fiction writer.
Enjoying: I’ve been really enjoying this podcast on the history of Reggaeton!
Jeantelle Laberinto (she/her)
Nominating Network Member: [people. power. media]
Jeantelle (she/her) is a Filipina community organizer and writer, born and raised in San Francisco. Her background includes local campaign organizing, policy research, and freelance reporting. Jeantelle holds a Master’s in Urban & Public Affairs from the University of San Francisco.
She currently works as a Community Organizer and Staff Writer at [people. power. media], where she helps lead the Race & Equity in all Planning Coalition, a coalition of more than 30 grassroots organizations throughout San Francisco fighting for racial and social equity in city planning. Jeantelle is deeply committed to building power with communities to cultivate self-determination and challenge inequitable systems that perpetuate disinvestment, displacement, and cultural erasure.
Listening to: An album I absolutely love: Circa91 by Ruby Ibarra
Joua Lee Grande (she/her/hers)
Nominating Network Member: Saint Paul Neighborhood Network (SPNN)
Joua Lee Grande is a filmmaker, photographer and community educator whose goal to highlight underrepresented perspectives and communities drives her work. She teaches media production and related arts at the Saint Paul Neighborhood Network and other institutions throughout the Twin Cities. Joua is currently in early production for her first feature documentary Spirited. She is a member of collectives such as A-Doc and Brown Girls Doc Mafia.
Find Joua online: https://www.joualeegrande.com/about
Aen Navidad (they/them/elle/ellx)
Nominating Network Member: Forward Together
Aen is an Aquarius; a non-binary, first-generation Salvadoran, graduate from San Francisco State University. They graduated from the Lam Family College of Business with a Bachelor’s in Business Administration, concentration in Marketing in the Spring of 2020; At this time, Aen is working with movement-building and cultural strategy as the Network Coordinator for Forward Together (@fwdtogether) to raise awareness, rights, and recognition necessary in access to reproductive justice care for all. Aen is also a co-founding member of @TransClosetClub, a free gender-affirming clothing service for BIPOC, trans, and non-binary individuals! — Aen is passionate about making the world a better place and enjoys making art in their free time. They enjoy matcha lemonade and iced-chai tea lattes!
Listening to: the best background music w/wave sounds
Find Aen online: https://beacons.ai/aenxmas
Naushaba Patel (they/them)
Nominating Network Member: Southerners On New Ground
Naushaba (they/them) is a fat, disabled, queer, Pakistani Muslim migrant born and raised in Karachi, currently living in Houston. They work as the Communications Manager at Southerners on New Ground (SONG). They are a movement facilitator and storyteller, and are passionate about co-creating liberatory futures where all of us can exist with full agency and power, within interconnected communities. Friends would describe them best as being obsessed with blowing bubbles in parks with loved ones and starting intense conversations about structural systems at random hours!
Watching: We Are Lady Parts
Andrea Pierre (she/her)
Nominating Network Member: KRSM Radio
Andrea Pierre is the Station Manager of KRSM Radio, a low power FM in South Minneapolis. She is also a mother, creative and producer of Afro-Caribbean descent. Andrea is a champion of voices of the under-represented and unheard. She believes that story-telling is a huge component to bridging the divide, and is interested in how to connect and empower folks for change. She is passionate about issues such as motherhood, community based-arts, Blackness, politics and health.
Nominating Network Member: Urbana-Champaign Independent Media Center
Posey (She/Her) is a youth worker and organizer in the central Illinois area. She was born in Chicago where she learned in her youth the importance of having a critical and complex understanding of the world. Currently her work looks at the intersection of the Radical Imagination in counter-spaces and access to liberatory information. She’s also interested in curating spaces for the imagination to ignite, influence and thrive! She is excited to think more critically about the role of youth activists and organizers in sharing alternative media through multiple modalities and expanding access to social justice culture. Her favorite things include puzzles and podcasts.
Reading: Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiment by Saidiya Hartman
Listening to: Through-Line Podcast, The Read
Watching: Living Single
Nadia Shaarawi (she/ her)
Nominating Network Member: Line Break Media
I’m Nadia, a recent graduate at the University of Minnesota, where I majored in Strategic Communications. I’m currently an interactive and digital media coordinator at The Center for Economic Inclusion, and a video contributor to BLCK press. My roots in understanding the importance of media as a tool to tell powerful truths came from organizing around police accountability and seeing the stories + issues faced by my local communities that were never solved as they were not heard. I’m always excited for opportunities to connect with other media makers and look forward to learning new ways to capture narratives!
Enjoying: Any content from @theneighborhoodreporter