South Sacramento tells its story

Welcome-to-South-SacWelcome to Sacramento Voices, an unprecedented forum of community journalism, telling the stories of South Sacramento neighborhoods neglected by traditional media.

Under the guidance of the Robert C. Maynard Institute for Journalism Education, the Oakland-based organization that for decades has worked to diversify America’s professional newsrooms, our inaugural 2014-15 class of Sacramento Voices was recruited from three neighborhoods, Oak Park, Lemon Hill and Valley Hi.

The Voices reflect those communities. They reflect the history and future of South Sacramento. And with ages spanning five decades and cultural backgrounds as diverse as the mosaics that comprise the neighborhoods in which they live, the Voices reflect a powerful opportunity to record Sacramento from a unique perspective.

The 10 Voices are not professional journalists. While several have studied communications or journalism, their essential qualification is a status as activist community members. The Voices are passionate about their neighborhoods and eager to share their experiences and observations.

There are no assignments for the Voices. They conceive, research, write and photograph their own work. In the process, they collaborate with each other, bringing shared wisdom and experience to each story.

Burt Clemons finds inspiration in video storytelling. Tamara Knox documents her world with still photographs. Francisco Gutierrez is a poet. Roze Castaneda and Ryan Avalos are magical, evocative writers. Andrea Weathington and Krystle Hudson love to enlighten with words and share community triumphs. Nailah Ware is a writer devoted to improving the public policies that govern communities. Jaeseana Craft-Hollis is a professional chef equally at ease with visual and written communications tools. Alisa Xiong is passionate about building cultural bridges with words and pictures.

The first class of Sacramento Voices will run through April 2015. Two months later, we’ll start again with a second class. Our program follows compelling results in Oakland and Jackson, Miss. Other cities are eager to join and find their own Voices.

Sacramento Voices is funded by a grant from the California Endowment, and is a joint project under the leadership auspices of  The Oakland Tribune and The Robert C. Maynard Institute for Journalism Education.

As coordinator, my job is to help Sacramento Voices navigate journalistic issues. I provide editing assistance and post the work. I’m an advisor, not a boss.

The Voices webpage will update several times each month. Please check back often. And please let us know if you have stories to share. The Voices speak loud and clear, but they are all terrific listeners.

About R.E. Graswich
R.E. Graswich, the Sacramento Voices coordinator, has four decades of experience in Sacramento media, communications, policy and politics. Career highlights: Sacramento Bee Metro columnist, video columnist for CBS 13, drive-time co-anchor for KFBK, Special Assistant to Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson and author of the Amazon sports best-seller "Vagrant Kings: David Stern, Kevin Johnson and the NBA's Orphan Team," a history of the most traveled franchise in U.S. major league sports.

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