Oakland Voices has trained dozens of community journalists over the years. We caught up with a few alumni to see where the program has brought them in their professional and personal lives. Some are pursuing a full-time journalism career, while others are busy publishing books or articles. Stay tuned for more alumni updates in upcoming months!
Ayodele Nzinga (Oakland Voices cohort 2019-2020) recently published a book of poetry, “SorrowLand Oracle,” through Nomadic Press. She was also recently featured in an article at Oaklandside. Ayodele also covered the new West Oakland mural depicting the women of the Black Panther Party for the Guardian U.S. Read more of Ayodele’s stories at Oakland Voices. Ayodele can be found on Twitter at @wordslanger.
Howard Dyckoff (Oakland Voices 2010-2011 cohort) spent most of last year working for the U.S. Census Bureau. He has also been out in the community photographing places, people, and events such as at Roots Community Clinic. He also participated in KALW‘s “Hey Area” podcast program, along with other Oakland Voices alumni. Dyckoff has contributed regularly to Oakland Voices, including covering COVID vaccine distribution (photo above taken by Howard) as well publishing with Oakland Post, Mission Critical and TechTarget.com since he completed the Oakland Voices training program. Last fall, Howard participated in the Oakland ballot measure elections video explainers, a partnership between Oakland Voices and Oaklandside. Read more of Howard’s stories at Oakland Voices and follow along at @Howard_D.
Tonya Shipp (Oakland Voices 2017-2018) graduated from JVS’s Administrative Bootcamp and Bookkeeping courses and has created an online business, ServicesbyTNS. She has written about the Black Joy Parade and self-published articles on LinkedIn. Tonya has been able to transfer skills she learned from the Oakland Voices training program about photography, videography, and social media marketing to her professional and personal life. For several years, she volunteered as a photographer for Oakland First Fridays. During COVID, she has served as an essential worker delivering groceries and prepared foods via the driver apps such as DoorDash and GrubHub, which she wrote about for Oakland Voices and Oaklandside. Still active in the community, she has volunteered as Bell Ringer for the Salvation Army during the Christmas holidays at the Coliseum BART station and in various administrative roles at the East Bay College Fund in North Oakland and at Bay Area Girls Rock Camp, downtown. Follow Tonya on Twitter at @ShippTonya and read her stories at Oakland Voices here.
Marabet Morales Sikahall
Marabet Morales Sikahall (Oakland Voices 2016-2017) is an alumna of both Creative Writing programs at Berkeley City College and San Francisco State University. Currently, she is hard at work as editor and founder for up-and-coming literary journal, Diaspora Baby Blues, which focuses on publishing Gen-X and Millennial writers from the various diasporas of the world. She hopes to release its inaugural Winter 2020 issue in the early spring. Marabet recently wrote a first-person essay, “‘The sweetest escape’: a love letter to Oakland’s libraries” for Oaklandside as part of their Amplify Oakland series. For more of Marabet’s updates, she can be found on social media at @Marabet510. Read more of Marabet’s work at Oakland Voices.
Iris M. Crawford
Iris M. Crawford was apart of last year’s Oakland Voices cohort (2019- 2020) and since graduating, has been continuing to grow as a journalist. Most recently, Iris published her first investigative/explanatory longform piece with InvestigateWest that explored equity flashpoints and decarbonization in the Pacific Northwest. She has been publishing other work related to climate justice, the just energy transition, and food justice for publications such as Yes! Magazine and Prism. Her second love remains arts & culture. She recently covered a poetry project for Local News Matters as well as the launching of a new listening project for the San Francisco Chronicle. Very soon, Iris will be furthering her education in journalism as she was recently accepted into graduate programs at Northwestern and UC Berkeley, and is excited for what the future holds. Follow Iris’ here on Twitter @IrisMCrawford and read more of her stories at Oakland Voices.