For nine-year-old Alejandria, home isn’t just the apartment she shares with Mami and her abuela, Tita, but rather the whole neighborhood. Home is the bakery where Ms. Beatrice makes yummy picos; the sidewalk where Ms. Alicia sells flowers with her little dog, Duende; and the corner store with friendly Mr. Amir. But lately the city has been changing, and rent prices are going up. Many people in el barrio are leaving because they can no longer afford their homes, and “For Sale” signs are popping up everywhere. Then the worst thing happens: Mami receives a letter saying they’ll have to move out too. Alejandria knows it isn’t fair, and she’s not about to give up and leave. Join Alejandria as she brings her community together to fight and save their neighborhood!
Alejandria Fights Back!/¡La Lucha de Alejandria! is a part of the Rise-Home Stories project, a groundbreaking collaboration that aims to reimagine the past, present, and future of our communities by transforming the stories we tell about them. In 2018, our group of multimedia storytellers and housing, land, and racial justice advocates came together and began a unique co-creative process. We’ve created a suite of five multimedia narrative projects, including Alejandria Fights Back! All aimed at validating the experiences of young BIPOC, challenging narratives that value profit over people, and conveying the beauty and richness of families and communities of color. This story is told through the lens of those often most impacted by displacement but least heard: young people.
Leticia Hernández-Linares is a bilingual, interdisciplinary writer & artist & racial justice educator. The first-generation U.S. born daughter of Salvadoran immigrants, she is the author of Mucha Muchacha, Too Much Girl. All of her creative and educational work incorporates storytelling & art––important tools for celebrating culture & community. She has lived on the same block in the Mission District of San Francisco for twenty-five years. She works to preserve the spirit & history of her neighborhood, along with her two artivist sons, & her neighbors & community.
Robert Liu-Trujillo is a lifelong Bay Area resident. Born in Oakland California, he’s the child of student activists who watched lots of science fiction and took him to many demonstrations. Always drawing, Rob grew up to be an artist falling in love with graffiti, fine art, illustration, murals, and children’s books. In that order, sort of. Through storytelling he’s been able to scratch the surface of so many untold stories. Rob is the author and illustrator of Furqan’s First Flat Top. He’s a dad of a teenage boy and a brand new baby girl. He loves ice cream and his wife who laughs big and corrects his grammar every chance she gets. Down with the system and soggy french fries! Rob is a co-founder of The Trust Your Struggle Collective, a contributor to The Social Justice Children's Bk Holiday Fair, The Bull Horn Blog, Rad Dad, Muphoric Sounds, and the founder of Come Bien Books. Photo by Kristen Murakoshi.
Mike Leyba is a director with City Life/Vida Urbana, a community organization that promotes tenants' rights and prevents housing displacement. Originally from Los Angeles, Mike is an activist, communicator and futurist living in Boston. Mike became an activist during the Campaign Against Prop 8 in California, a ballot initiative that would have banned same-sex marriage. Mike was formerly Communications Director for United for a Fair Economy, a national nonprofit highlighting racial and gender inequality in the United States.
Kate Little is the former housing specialist at Georgia STAND-UP, where she focused on housing policy issues. She formerly served as president and CEO of Georgia Advancing Communities Together, Inc., a statewide network of nonprofit housing and community development organizations. She has also served as the Atlanta Director of The Enterprise Foundation working with community development corporations in neglected neighborhoods. Kate has additional experience with the Georgia Housing Finance Authority, the Atlanta Housing Authority, and serves as a member of Fifth Third Bank’s National Community Advisory Forum.
Heather Appel is Communications Manager at the Partnership for Working Families, a national network of community, labor, faith, and climate coalitions organizing locally for national transformation. She has a background in labor communications, journalism, and community organizing and loves combining storytelling and activism. Originally from Denver, Colorado, she lives in Oakland with her 4-year-old daughter.
Malcolm Torrejón Chu was born and bred in Brooklyn but is now based in Boston. He got schooled as an organizer with Springfield No One Leaves/Nadie Se Mude in Springfield, Massachusetts, where he spent 7 years as the lead organizer building a grassroots, people of color and resident-led movement against displacement and foreclosure. Malcolm was a member of the Homes For All organizing committee for 3 years before joining the Right to the City staff in 2016 as a communications strategist and organizer.
Cashauna Hill serves as Executive Director of the Louisiana Fair Housing Action Center. A longtime civil rights lawyer, Cashauna's lived experience and personal connections to the impacts of exclusionary housing policy inform her work challenging discriminatory housing policies and practices. Cashauna has written extensively about housing segregation and civil rights, and has testified before the United States Congress as a fair housing expert. She is a graduate of Spelman College and Tulane Law School.
Maxwell Ciardullo is the Director of Policy and Communications with the Louisiana Fair Housing Action Center. With over a decade of non-profit and public sector experience, he has a broad range of expertise from data-driven public policy decision support to public speaking and meeting facilitation. He has managed and executed community outreach strategies for diverse communities in D.C., New York, Western Massachusetts, and New Orleans.
Nia Momon is an affordable housing and public transit enthusiast. Her research centers equitable environmental solutions for low and moderate-income communities of color. She is an Atlanta native through and through. In another life she is an award-winning writer-director.
Rose Arrieta is the Senior Communications Lead at Causa Justa :: Just Cause. She is Chicana and Tarahumara with family roots in El Paso, Texas and Northern Mexico. Rose is a seasoned multimedia journalist with more than 20 years of experience in print and broadcast as a writer, producer and editor.
Brasilian-American filmmaker Luisa Dantas works at the intersection of storytelling, social justice, and cities. She produced and directed the multi-platform documentary "Land of Opportunity," which chronicles the reconstruction of New Orleans through the eyes of those on the front lines. The project includes a feature film and groundbreaking interactive web platform produced in conjunction with partners in six cities. Luisa also co-produced the documentary "Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price." Her first fiction film, "Bolo," was produced in Brazil. She has written for the animated Nickelodeon Television series "Go, Diego, Go!" Her work has received funding from Chicken and Egg Pictures, Rockefeller Foundation, Ford Foundation, Disney/ABC, and NHFA. She was awarded a Rockwood Leadership Institute/JustFilms fellowship for 2017-18.
Anna Lee serves as the co-director of Working Films, a leading organization in using documentary film and other media to advance social justice and environmental protection. In her 16 year tenure she has developed and coordinated impact campaigns for high profile documentaries, consulted with hundreds of filmmakers, and trained organizers and nonprofit leaders across the US, increasing their capacity to use film as a tool to move the dial on critical issues. Anna leads the operations and financial management of Working Films and while also managing special projects, including leading Working Films participation on the design and resource team of the Rise Home Stories Project. Anna brings experience as an educator to Working Films, using her background in curriculum design to enhance Working Films' training for filmmakers and nonprofits.
Paige Wood is an award-winning filmmaker, screenwriter, producer, and creative consultant. Born in Detroit, Paige has produced and/or co-written a number of critically-acclaimed documentary and narrative films since the start of her freelance career in 2018. Currently, Paige serves as the Supervising Producer for the Rise-Home Stories Project, which features over five narrative-shifting multimedia projects supported by The Ford Foundation, in addition to serving as an adjunct instructor at Wayne State University. Paige is a 2020 Kresge Artist Fellow, an alumni of Firelight Media's 2018-2019 Impact Producer Cohort, as well as a 2019 Sundance Institute | Knight Foundation Program fellow.
Kelsey Van Ert is a St. Paul & Minneapolis grown/Brooklyn based artist, arts educator, and producer who has worked with Little Island, The Clemmons Family Farm, Urban Arts Partnership, Voice Unbroken, DreamYard Project, and The Harlem Children’s Zone. She is proud to say that her artistic work, largely inspired by her African American & Ojibwe experience, has been funded and presented by some pretty cool places! Kelsey is a proud adoptive pet mother of a street cat from Crown Heights BK, adoptive grandmother to that cat’s surprise kitten, and a yellow betta fish from the 99cent store.
Kadi Diallo is a filmmaker born and raised in Harlem. She co directed the short documentary, Sanctuary, a film about about organizers creating safe spaces for queer folks in NY and LA. Her work has been exhibited at Case Gallery, Saratoga Arts Gallery, and Shift. Kadi was a Fellow at the MDOCS Storytellers Institute in 2020 and is currently producing and directing a video series with the organization Color of Change.
Mo Banks is a digital communications specialist who has been working for a variety of non-profits in the progressive movement space for the past 5 years. Mo believes a robust digital strategy is a key factor in leveraging progressive wins, increasing accessibility in our movement spaces, and transforming narratives in service of cultural shifts. They currently live in Arkansas with their wife and 4 kids, where they serve as the co-founder of Reconcile Arkansas, which exists to support trans youth in Arkansas. They are a meme connoisseur, a Gemini with no behavior, and they have never met a sandwich they didn't love.
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