Our Oakland Voices alumna Marabet Morales Sikahall (Oakland Voices 2016) recently joined Chapter 510 & the Dept. of Make Believe, a youth writing center in Oakland with a mission to help every young person in Oakland write with confidence and joy.
Rooted in this mission, Chapter 510 believes that when kids and teens can confidently write, they transform themselves and their communities for the better. We can’t think of a better role for Oakland Voices correspondent Marabet Morales Sikahall than Chapter 510’s new Program & Community Manager.
Marabet completed Oakland Voices, the nine-month program, in 2016. Oakland Voices is a program of the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education that trains Oakland residents to tell the stories of their neighborhoods. The program emerged from a partnership with the Oakland Tribune and it connects Oakland Voices correspondents with more than a dozen media professionals. Participants work individually and in teams, creating content for OaklandVoices.us, which can also be published elsewhere. The collaborative, applied learning approach means correspondents quickly become aware of their power and responsibility as storytellers, and as members of the media.
“As a young writer I was hesitant about writing journalistic pieces because of a previous traumatic experience,” Marabet said, referring to a high school teacher who discouraged her from writing. “It was through the Maynard Institute’s support for Oakland Voices that I was able to become more confident in my community storytelling.”
Marabet is a Guatemalan American writer from Oakland, California. She is an alumna from both Creative Writing programs at San Francisco State University and Berkeley City College, including the Literary Arts program at Oakland School for the Arts. Some of her writing has been featured in The Acentos Review, Acción Latina’s Tribute Chapook for Salvadoran writer, Roque Dalton, Harvard College’s Palabritas, and Oakland Voices. Additionally, her radio story in collaboration with local radio station, KALW and Oakland Voices aired on July 2019 for #MinorityMentalHealthAwarenessMonth. She is also the editor and founder of the literary journal, “Diaspora Baby Blues.”
This post is an edited version of the original announcement at the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education.