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East Bay Youth Media Awards In the News

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United Roots on Comcast Newsmakers

Keith Carson on IHeart Radio

East Bay Youth Media Awards in the Oakland Post

Award Winner Serena Witherspoon honored by Berkeley City College


2015 Honorees

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Serena Witherspoon – Berkeley City College
Witherspoon will receive the Indie Award, presented to a dynamic individual who has demonstrated an independent voice in social media, bringing greater public awareness to a current social issue. Her Huffington Post published blog pertained to raising awareness and the importance of youth taking advantage of the voting system to make positive changes in our world.  

Witherspoon has a genuine concern for the planet and the people on it.  She has decided to not accept the status quo and encourage her peers to help be the change the world so desperately needs. She is currently working with her mentor Joan Blades at “Living Room Conversations” to make positive and reflective political conversations a part of high school education. 


Hank Rugg – Youth Radio

Rugg is the recipient of the Rising Star Award, which recognizes an up-and-coming media professional who has exhibited tremendous potential and passion in creating radio/audio features and brings greater public awareness to a current social issue. He wrote a commentary about his experience having to parent his father after his father had a stroke earlier this year. 

Rugg paints a distinctive picture of what it’s like to cope with major change and loss as a teen while also dealing with transition into adulthood. His story highlights his perspective as a teen having to take care of someone that once took care of him and employs futurist and innovative principals while confronting an issue that is unique to children with disabled/differently-abled parents. 


Mikey Prizmich, Luis Flores, Maya Escobar – Youth Radio

A team of young video producers and journalists at Youth Radio have created a compelling piece about the volatile state of gun violence in many Oakland neighborhoods and all around the nation, with an inside look on the effects shootings have in a community. They are the recipients of the Maverick Award, which recognizes up-and-coming media professionals who have exhibited tremendous potential and passion in creating an animation or multimedia project, bringing greater public awareness to a current social issue.

Prizmich and Flores creatively use animation to convey Escobar’s story, an otherwise graphic and traumatic experience, in an innocent fashion. It exposes a side of this violence that many forget: The effects of growing up to gunshots on our future generations. 


Dashawn Clinton, Demario Lewis, DetermiNation Media Group – United Roots

The Innovator Award goes to DMG for its focus on engaging young black men from the Oakland area. Its program is especially tailored to provide culturally relevant healing practices to support young men who are aspiring to advance their own life goals (such as employment, career, educational or other personal goals). As part of the program, youth participants also

develop their media production skills and produce short films, music and graphic design to share their personal stories and/or present a vision of a healthy community of color in Oakland.   This nomination comes from their work to partner with the Latino community in San Francisco to inspire a Black and Brown Unity movement in the greater Bay Area.

The DetermiNation Media Group’s video “Amor for Alex” investigates the killing of Alex Nieto by the San Francisco Police in March 2014.

Youth Voices

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Hear from young media makers about their creativity, passions, and inspirations

21st century

Dashawn Clinton of United Roots began his venture into video production through his desire to be a musician.  At United Roots, Dashawn not only found an outlet for his creative gifts, but also gained the 21st-century skills of game design, graphic design and music production. Dashawn serves as the co-producer with the Determination Project and is film producer for “Determined to be a Father”. Currently, Dashawn is an intern with Adobe studying application design and plans to pursue a career in film or web design.
“I have learned to run my own business as a freelancing filmmaker, and have enhanced my leadership and communication skills as I pay it forward mentoring other youth at United Roots. After earning my degree, I want to open my own audio studio business.”

UR Youth & Bldf

MEA_Production MEA_Production-Control room

Nancy Tafoya –  Laney College Student / MEA intern

What made you want to do video production?

What made me want to do video production was my goal of creating movies, and TV shows, and animated pieces. I wanted to learn the skills and what it takes to achieve this goal.

How has working with this organization prepared you for a 21st-century job?

Working at MEA has definitely prepared me for a 21st century job. They give me a variety of tasks to perform whether it’s entering data into the system, learning how to use new equipment, making a lesson plan, and teaching students the skills they need to succeed in the film industry. These skills I’m gaining as a teachers assistant will definitely help me be more prepared for a 21st century job.

What is one of the best experiences that you have had working with the organization? Or describe a project that you felt excited to work on and why?

One of the best experiences I’ve had working at MEA was when I was a junior in high school and I had to do an internship, so I chose MEA because I wanted to be more involved and learn more about video production. It was exciting because I got to learn more than what was taught during the after school program. I learned how to transcribe and was able to go out and shoot and edit my own video which was aired on CCC Live.

What do you see yourself doing in the future with the skills you have learned?

In the future I see myself using these skills to teach others what I have learned. I also see myself using these skills at future jobs.

Supporting the Vision of the 21st Century Workforce

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 21st century


“To Empower Our Next Workforce Generation to the Most Innovative”

“Through our partnership with community-based organizations, concerned citizens and corporate partners, we aim is to continue fueling youth engagement and raising awareness about the incredible young talent emerging from the East Bay.”    

Alameda County Supervisor Keith Carson

RESEARCH SHOWS that when caring adults take the time to develop and engage young people to fully participate in the workforce it can change their lives.

According to the article “Understanding Youth Development Principles and Practices” by Janis Whitlock released by ACT for Youth Upstate Center of Excellence, their youth development model strives to cultivate qualities and traits desirable in young people through the creation of environments that support their developing needs and capacities. Their youth development approach is founded on the belief that young people thrive when they are developmentally supported across all sectors of the community – school, youth serving agencies, faith organizations, community governance, business, juvenile justice system and more.”

Today, more than ever before, youth have the fortunate chance to participate in 21st century work force development programs such as those offered by Media Enterprise Alliance and United Roots and Youth Radio.  Through the medium of multimedia and journalism the young people involved in these programs are enriching themselves to become positive and fruitful citizens in their communities


Media Innovation Awards

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Mistress of Ceremonies NBC Bay Area Kari Hall

Kari Hall

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