CultureStrike is thrilled to announce the 2016-2017 Climate and Environmental Justice Literary Fellows. CultureStrike was heartened and inspired to receive scores of applications for our first fellowship program. Unfortunately there were many more amazing project ideas than we had the capacity to support, but in the end, our panel of reviewers--Jeff Biggers, Lisa Chen, Andy Hsiao and Zena Zendejas--selected three storytellers with innovative and imaginative perspectives and their carefully crafted projects, to be produced during late 2016 and early 2017.
Desiree Evans is a writer and activist with deep roots in the Gulf Coast. For her fellowship project she will document the stories and struggles of communities in the region. She describes it as “a multi-media poetry and fiction project that will tell the story of a fictional African-American town in South Louisiana facing displacement and environmental injustice.” Through “blending poetry, fiction, and video/photography,” the work will “highlight the experiences and voices of communities facing displacement and extinction” in the region's imperiled wetlands.
Cyree Johnson is a New York-based poet and activist. They will be using their fellowship to produce “a narrative hybrid work investigating prison abolition on both sides of the wall, and its implications for climate justice and citizenship, through the story of an incarcerated mother and her son.”
Alexandra Tempus is a journalist who covers environmental issues and the social challenges facing indigenous communities in Wisconsin and beyond. Her fellowship work will investigate “the impacts of climate change on the Menominee tribe in Wisconsin, their reservation and their working forest, with a focus on historical trauma, displacement and the tribe's multi-faceted response rooted in indigenous wisdom. "
The fellows will be writing, reporting and producing their projects over the coming weeks. We hope to publish periodic updates on their progress. Stay tuned!
--Michelle Chen, editor, December 20, 2016