Institute Fellows Already Making Ripples in the Media

June 30, 2016

Our 2016 Communications Institute Fellows are already shining a light on criminal justice and immigration issues by talking to the media and writing compelling op-eds. They join the 2016 Fellows in a shared effort to change how our nation talks about immigration and criminal justice issues. Janaé Bonsu, who just completed the Communications Institute, wrote an op-ed critiquing inequitable stop and search practices in black and brown communities. 2015 Fellows Soffiyah Elijah and Ricardo Favela contributed to stories highlighting problems in America’s criminal justice system. Read what they and our Creative Change Alumni have to say!

National Policy Chair of Black Youth Project 100 Janaé Bonsu, wrote an op-ed for in which she critiques the Supreme Court’s ruling on stop and search practices, which allows officers to use evidence garnered in an illegal search. Read the op-ed here.

Soffiyah Elijah (CI ’15), executive director of the Correctional Association of New York, asks that the Clinton Correctional Facility in New York be shut down along with Attica prison in a June 9 Albany Times-Union article. The article discusses a report released by the association contending that last year’s Clinton Correctional Facility breakout was followed by an uptick in abusive behavior by prison employees in addition to excessive use of solitary confinement and racism. Read more. Table

Ricardo Favela (CI ’15) was interviewed in a local CBS report on militant policing of a Donald Trump campaign rally in San Diego earlier this month. The militarization threatened residents and scared families, said Favela, who is the Communications Director of Alliance San Diego. "Law enforcement officials dressed in riot gear with armored vehicles behind them, marched in a wall of force that stretched the width of Harbor Drive, pushing a small number of protesters from downtown San Diego into the residential area of Barrio Logan, over a mile away," he stated. Watch the clip here.

A group of artists and activists from The Natural History Museum teamed up with Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Service (T.E.J.A.S), a Latino-led community group living in the shadow of the world's largest petrochemical hub, to challenge fossil fuel sponsorship and inspire new audiences to join the fight for environmental and social justice in a new exhibition in Houston. The exhibition, “Mining the HMNS: An Investigation by The Natural History Museum,” in Houston, Texas, raises the question: “Is the Houston Museum of Natural Sciences a museum, or a PR front for the fossil fuel industry?” Yudith Nieto (CC ’15) is an active member of T.E.J.A.S

History Museum

Vicky Holt Takamine, Executive Director of PA'I Foundation and Creative Change Alumnae (CC ’11), announced that PA’I Foundation has opened applications for the first Intercultural Leadership Institute (ILI), a collaborative program of Alternate ROOTS, First Peoples Fund, National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures (NALAC) and PA’I Foundation. The Institute is a year-long rigorous personal and leadership development program for artists, culture bearers, and other arts professionals that begins in 2017. Its mission is to foster and support intercultural leaders throughout our communities as well as to promote a shift in the broader arts & cultural field toward greater intercultural awareness, resourcing and action. Find more details at