SCA New York participants announced
The School for Creative Activism is excited to announce the participants of our 2011 workshop training in New York,NY.
(this is a partial list)
Amita Swadhin is dedicated to fighting interpersonal and institutional violence against young people. Her commitments stem from her experiences as a queer woman of color, a daughter of immigrants, and a survivor of child abuse. She is the Project Coordinator of Undesirable Elements: Secret Survivors, a project that she created with Ping Chong & Company featuring survivors of child sexual abuse telling their stories through dramatic narrative. Amita has also developed an educational component to the project, including workshops for community-based groups and social service providers. In 2010, she made a short film, “Violent Adult-ISM,” for an NYU showcase, featuring interviews of people discussing the topic of child sexual abuse. She received 2010 and 2011 awards from the Asian Women Giving Circle to support her work, and will begin work on a new video project about the paradox of the visible yet invisible nature of child sexual abuse in our communities and in society at large this summer. Amita is also completing her MPA at NYU, where she is a Catherine B. Reynolds Fellow in Social Entrepreneurship. Prior to enrolling at NYU, she spent eight years as a program manager, educator and youth organizer at Global Kids, Make the Road NY and Kingsborough Community College (CUNY). Her earlier work, at NOW Legal Defense & Education Fund and the U.S. Department of Justice Violence Against Women Office, focused on ending physical and sexual violence against women and girls. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Foreign Service from Georgetown University.
INTIKANA is a national award winning Hip Hop/Spoken Word artist, educator, and activist from the Bronx. He has featured on VH1 and toured across the United States, Cuba, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Peru, and Colombia while sharing the stage with artists such as KRS-One, Immortal Technique, Talib ÷ }”Kweli, Lupe Fiasco, M1 of Dead Prez, Styles P, Invincible, C-Rayz Walz, Rebel Diaz, Saul Williams, among others. His critically acclaimed one man Hip Hop musical PENUMBRA was selected by HBO to be presented as a film pitch for the 2009 NY International Latino Film Festival and has since been on tour concluding its Off-Broadway debut. As an Urban Word NYC Mentor and member of RDACBX (Rebel Diaz Arts Collective) in the South Bronx, Intikana has performed and facilitated workshops at over 100 universities/colleges, high schools, middle schools, community centers, and prison facilities. Through his art, Intikana aims to inspire, educate, and innovate as he continues to actively participate in the conscious development of Hip Hop, not only in his community, but around the world.
Shino was born and raised in Tokyo until she moved to the US at the age of fifteen, leaving her family behind. She is a graduate of Parsons School of Design with a BFA in Communication Design. After four years as a graphic designer, she returned to school to study science so she could save the planet. She received her Master of Science in Marine Environmental Sciences from Stony Brook University in 1996 and realized it was not the planet that needed saving. She is now more interested in saving the human species. As the District Manager of the NYC Soil & Water Conservation District, her work often involves empowering people to become stewards of natural resources. She is also an education activist trying to bring democracy back to public education in NYC (and beyond). She believes educated citizenry is the key to the future of our species.
David Benzaquen is the Political and Legislative Action Coordinator at NARAL Pro-Choice New York and the National Institute for Reproductive Health. In this role, he organizes the group’s grassroots activists to advance a broad reproductive rights and justice agenda at the state and national levels. Prior to joining NARAL, David managed the campaigns of progressive, female candidates for office in local government and led the campaigns department at Farm Sanctuary, the nation’s leading farm animal protection organization. David holds a master’s degree from Milano: The New School for Management and Urban Policy in Nonprofit Management and a bachelor’s degree in Political Science with a certificate in Women, Public Policy, and Political Leadership from American University. His experience with creative activism includes five years of radical cheerleading and helping to build giant puppets for demonstrations.
Hena Ashraf is an independent filmmaker. Hena likes to create with cameras and stories. She currently lives in the land of Brooklyn, after stints at the University of Michigan and London’s East End. Hena tends to disappear into her headphones, and also writes and photographs.
Molly Gaebe in an improviser and comedian whose work focuses in the reproductive justice field. She currently works for the Reproductive Health Access Project (RHAP) in New York City which concentrates on integrating abortion and contraception into primary care settings. Her work at RHAP is focused on training family medicine clinicians in early term abortion and contraception education, and in providing affordable access to these comprehensive reproductive health services. As her work at RHAP involves intentionally operating out of the public eye and awareness of anti-choice movement, she is interested in the public sphere as a place to reclaim the moral center of abortion.
I am currently National Research Coordinator for Restaurant Opportunities Centers United (ROC-United), a national restaurant workers’ organization fighting to better wages and working conditions in the restaurant industry. I coordinate worker-led research on working conditions, wages, wage theft, discrimination, and employment practices. These studies support our policy campaigns as well as our workplace organizing. We are looking to expand our use of art and culture to amplify restaurant workers’ voice and power. In addition to my role at ROC-united, I continue to be involved in the Philippines as a volunteer policy researcher in an ongoing campaign to stop the World Bank’s privatization of irrigation services and I play guitar in a funk/rock band. I’m looking forward to meeting everyone and learning from you all.
Dana is the Management Coordinator of freeDimensional, a non-profit organization that advances social justice by hosting activists in art spaces and using cultural resources to strengthen their work. Prior to joining freeDimensional, Dana worked for a number of years as a global youth program leader with the the Experiment in International Living and Global Teens, an educational advancement initiative based in New York City. She served as an AmeriCorps volunteer with the International YMCA leading community organizing and network development initiatives. In addition to her work with international education and cross-cultural exchange programs, Dana is a painter, photographer and has an extensive background in film and as a ceramic artist. Currently a master’s degree candidate with the School for International Training’s Program in Intercultural Management, she received her BA in Art Education from the University of Georgia. Dana is also now in development on plans to establish a locally based international arts organization in Athens, Georgia. The hybrid for/non-profit venture will serve as a community hub and creative learning center focused on fostering civic engagement, cross-cultural dialogue, social cohesion and sustainable living practices through a variety of educational and entrepreneurial initiatives.
Ariel Herrera is an activist with over ten years of professional experience in international human rights advocacy, including eight years working at Amnesty International USA, where he helped build its lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) human rights program. He currently works as consulting program director for Asia Catalyst, providing technical support in organizational development and training in rights documentation and advocacy for grassroots groups working on HIV/AIDS in marginalized communities (sex workers, drug users, LGBT, migrants) in Southeast Asia. Prior to pursuing activism full time, Ariel Herrera spent ten years as a professional performer/choreographer producing his own work, appearing in the works of Reza Abdoh, Sarah Skaggs and Jeff Weiss, among others, and touring extensively across Europe and the US.
Vee Bravo is a New York-based filmmaker, writer, and media educator who has documented youth culture, hip hop and urban politics over the past fifteen years. Most recently he completed his first feature length film, Estilo Hip Hop, a PBS documentary that chronicles the lives of three hip hop activists throughout Latin America. In 2002 Bravo launched the Cell Block Project, a media literacy and film series at New York’s Rikers Island Correctional Facility. Bravo was also one of the co-founders of Stress Magazine, widely recognized as the first lifestyles publication to fuse hip hop and social activism during the late 90s. His community work and writing has been featured and published in the New York Times, The Village Voice, The Source, Vibe, XXL, and El Diario-La Prensa. Presently, Bravo is co-producing a documentary on the history of racial hate crimes in New York City during the late 80s and early 90s. He also serves as the Educational Director at the Maysles Center for Documentary Filmmaking. Bravo’s community and media work has been recognized and supported by the Open Society Institute, the Union Square Awards, and the Ford Foundation.
Rev. Michael Ellick
Rev. Michael Ellick is currently the Minister of Judson Memorial Church. Raised in a Conservative Baptist church in Washington State, Ellick studied Comparative Religion and Philosophy at the University of Washington before earning his M.Div. at Union Theological Seminary in the year 2000. There he grew frustrated with contemporary theological thinking, and looking for new ways to understand the Gospel, and real world practices for embodying it, he studied closely under a Tibetan Buddhist teacher for the next seven years. Over the course of his life, he has also worked as a courier, a fast-food cook, a fact-checker, a fresh juice delivery person, a copy-editor, an event planner, a barista, a financial analyst, an internet help desk, a community organizer, and even as an assistant at a Marine Biology lab. Ellick was ordained for Ministry in 2008, and so far has held on to the job.
Terry Marshall has been involved in youth and social justice struggles for the past 13 yrs with Direct Action experience from 1998 Student Take over of Roxbury Community College in Boston to people of color formations in Seattle 1999 and RNC 2000
In 2005 he founded the Hip-Hop Media Lab, an intermediary that uses culture and new media to organize social networks. In 2007 as part of the Hip Hop Sustains collective he help put on the 1st U.S. Solar Powered Concert. Today Terry is the Lead Practitioner of Young Voices Nation, a creative engagement agency, and enjoys being a heretic of the Left.
Chong Kim is a long time community organizing “artivist”, aspiring comic book artist, a fulltime dreamer and all around do-gooder who most people have come to know by his American name “John”. An adopted native of New York City, Chong is a graduate of the School of Visual Arts and an avid fan of CUNY’s Hunter College. He has helped to initiate social justice campaigns for public education, civic engagement and media justice campaigns. Chong can be best identified as part of an emerging group of progressives that employ what he terms “evolutionary cultural strategy” as a fundamental tenet of transformational organizing and progressive institution building. Chong’s most defining work is in developing Soul Survivors, a start-up whose mission is to develop sustainable ventures for working peoples. Soul Survivors’ first collaborative project “Hip-Hop Sustains” in 2007 has already set a national precedent by fusing Hip-Hop culture with eco-friendly culture. Soul Survivor’s new project in development is dubbed “Hero Academy”. The Hero Academy identifies everyday people who do extraordinary things and assists them in their development as community activists. In his personal time Chong has acquired a Masters Certificate for Vermi-Composting with the Lower Eastside Ecology Center for the purposes of researching urban permaculture. He is also developing a comic book universe and publishing company in order to help develop seminal mythologies for a new generation.