Oakland Voices Alumni Update: Ayodele Nzinga, Howard Dyckoff, Tonya Shipp, Marabet Morales Sikahall, and Iris M. Crawford

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

A split screen of a black and white photo of a an African American woman wearing a head wrap, and next to it, a book cover that is yellow and black titled "SorrowLand Oracle"
Ayodele Nzinga with the cover of her new book.

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

A man with beard wearing a tan hat against bright orange background, next to image of area in front of brand new Fremont High School gym that can accommodate a line for covid vaccines.
Howard Dyckoff with a photo he took at Fremont High School, a vaccine distribution site in East Oakland.

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

An African American woman with short brown hair wearing blue surgical mask stands outside; second photo is a cardboard sign in front of house that says "thank you to our postal workers"
Tonya Shipp and a photo Tonya took for her article.

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

A young Guatemalan American woman smiles for camera wearing a yellowfins beanie; next to her is an image of baby blue cloudy skies with words "Diaspora Baby Blues" in small font.
Marabet Morales Sikahall and an image from “Diaspora Baby Blues.”

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

A young African American woman with short hair and the second photo is an image of an article "Will Race, Income Inequalities Trip Up Cascadia’s Fight Against Climate Change?"
Iris M. Crawford next to an image from her longform article about just transitions in the climate change movement.

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.

About Momo Chang

Momo Chang is a freelance journalist based in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is the Oakland Voices Alumni Coordinator. Her work focuses on healthcare, immigration, education, Asian American communities, food and culture. She is a former staff writer at the Oakland Tribune. Momo has received journalism awards from the Society of Professional Journalists for investigative reporting and the Asian American Journalists Association, among others. Her work has appeared in the East Bay Express, San Francisco Chronicle, Wired, and The New York Times. Momo is primarily a print journalist who also produces audio and visual stories for documentary film and radio. She is a Senior Contributing Editor for Hyphen and formerly the Content Manager at the Center for Asian American Media (CAAM). View all posts by Momo Chang →

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