Meet the Bloggers

Malkia Cyril

Malkia Cyril is the Executive Director and founder of the Center for Media Justice. With more than 15 years’ experience as an award-winning organizer and communications leader, Malkia has helped to build dozens of local and national alliances, and is the author of numerous essays and articles on media, marginalization, and movement building. Malkia has appeared in award-winning documentaries such as Outfoxed, Broadcast Blues, and MissRepresentation, and spends an inordinate amount of time writing fiction and poetry when she should be sleeping.

amalia deloney

amalia deloney is the Grassroots Policy Director at the Center for Media Justice, and a Guatemala-born activist, cultural worker and former Senior Fellow with the Main Street Project.  Amalia is a board member of the Headwaters Foundation for Justice, the Indigenous Women’s Network, Progressive Majority’s Racial Justice Advisory, and the Media and Democracy Coalition. Additionally, she serves as a field representative for the American Indian Treaty Council and has participated in UN meetings such as the Working Group on Indigenous Populations and the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.

Karlos Guana Schmieder

Karlos Gauna Schmieder is a talented organizer and strategist from Albuquerque, New Mexico, and the Communications Strategist at the Center for Media Justice. Before joining the Center for Media Justice, Karlos worked for nearly a decade as a community and communications organizer with SouthWest Organizing Project (SWOP). As a leader on the communications committee for the 2007 and 2010 U.S. Social Forums, he coordinated media strategy for these groundbreaking events. He is also a resource ally with Right to the City Alliance and editor of Voces Unidas.

Betty Yu

Betty Yu is a longtime community organizer, media activist, filmmaker, and the National Organizer at the Center for Media Justice (CMJ).  Prior to joining CMJ, Betty was the Director of Community Outreach & Media Services at Manhattan Neighborhood Network (MNN), New York’s community access TV organization. She helped lead the Save Public Access TV campaign in New York, and worked as a lead organizer for the Chinese Staff and Workers’ Association. She is the recipient of the 1999 Union Square Award for grassroots activism, and a 2007 fellow of the National Rockwood Fellowship in Media, Communications and Information Policy.

Mervyn Marcano

Mervyn Marcano is an accomplished communicator with experience that runs broad and deep in the social justice sector. He is currently Communications Director at the Praxis Project, where he dedicates most of his time working on the Communities Creating Healthy Environments (CCHE) initiative, a national grant-making and technical assistance program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Jen Soriano

Jen Soriano has been a culture and communications worker for more than 12 years. She is a co-founder and board chair of the Center for Media Justice, and serves on the leadership council of the Progressive Communicators Network. She is currently communications coordinator for the Grassroots Global Justice Alliance, where she is learning in leaps and bounds about the potential of transformative communications. Jen is also a musician with Diskarte Namin, and she sings cuz it just feels good.

Joseph Phelan

Joseph Phelan has been active in left movement work for the last decade. Originally from New York, he cut his teeth in the global justice movement as an activist and agitator, was grounded in organizing in the CUNY student movement, and now builds the capacity of grassroots leaders to tell their own stories to the world as the Communications Coordinator for the Miami Workers Center. And he wants to win.

Makani Themba-Nixon

Makani Themba-Nixon is executive director of the Praxis Project, a nonprofit organization helping communities use media and policy advocacy to advance health justice. She also directs Communities Creating Healthy Environments (CCHE), a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, to support local policy advocacy to advance healthy food outlets and safe places to play in communities of color. Makani has published numerous books and articles on race, media, policy advocacy, and public health. She is author of Making Policy, Making Change and co-author of Media Advocacy and Public Health: Power for Prevention and Talking the Walk: Communications Guide for Racial Justice. Her latest book is Fair Game: Racial Justice Communications in the Obama Era. To learn more about CCHE and its grantees, please visit www.ccheonline.org

Jeff Chang

Jeff Chang has written extensively on culture, politics, the arts, and music. He was a USA Ford Fellow in Literature and a winner of the North Star News Prize. He was named by the Utne Reader as one of “50 Visionaries Who Are Changing Your World.” His first book, Can’t Stop Won’t Stop, garnered many honors, including the American Book Award and the Asian American Literary Award. He is the editor of Total Chaos: The Art and Aesthetics of Hip-Hop. He is currently writing two new books, including Who We Be: The Colorization of America. Jeff was a founding editor of Colorlines magazine, and a Senior Editor/Director at Russell Simmons’ 360hiphop.com. He has written for the the Nation, the New York Times, the San Francisco ChronicleVibeForeign Policy, and Mother Jones, among many others.

Samhita Mukhopadhyay

Samhita Mukhopadhyay is the Executive Editor of Feministing.com and a web strategist for grassroots groups committed to using online technology to spread their messages. She has written and spoken extensively on race, media, technology, and gender, with a specific focus on the intersection of race and gender, whether in popular culture or politics. Mukhopadhyay has written for multiple media outlets, including New America Media, Wiretap, Colorlines, the Nation and the American Prospect. She has also been featured in India Currents magazine, Nirali magazine and Alternet.

Garlin Gilchrist II

Garlin Gilchrist II, a native of Detroit, is Director of New Media at the Center for Community Change. After graduating with degrees in Computer Engineering and Computer Science from the University of Michigan, Gilchrist became a Software Engineer at Microsoft. During that time he co-founded The SuperSpade: Black Thought at the Highest Level, a leading Black political blog, co-founded blacknetaction, a diverse, strategic collective online activists and served as Social Media Manager for the 2008 Obama campaign in Washington state.

Naomi Ishisaka

Naomi Ishisaka has 13 years of experience in journalism and publishing. She is now the Director of Communications for SEIU Healthcare NW Training Partnership, a partnership between SEIU NW 775 and a group of long-term care employers to provide training to home-care workers. Between 2008-2010, she was Communications Director for OneAmerica (formerly Hate Free Zone). Until October 2008, Ishisaka served for the previous eight years as the Editor in Chief of ColorsNW Magazine, a monthly magazine focusing on communities of color in the Northwest. www.naomiishisaka.com


Brandi Collins


Brandi Collins is the Communications and Marketing Manager for CMJ. In her former life as Public Policy Associate for Safer Foundation, Brandi served as head speech writer for the CEO, and crafted state and national recommendations and statements on workforce development, community capacity building, and prisoner reentry. These were included in reports and publications for the American Correctional Association, the Obama-Biden transition team, the Illinois Poverty Commission and Illinois Human Services Commission, among others.


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