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UMOJA Magazine Hosting Virtual Media Workshops for Youth

UMOJA Magazine Virtual Media Workshops for Youth presenters: (L-r) Yvette Craig, Jerry Jordan, Felicia Clark and Natasha Ria El-Scari

“One of the reasons I’m so excited about the UMOJA Magazine Virtual Media Workshops for Youth is because education and children were something that was so important to Ms. Milele [Chikasa Anana] and we made a vow to continue her legacy and I really believe this project is going to allow those students voices to be heard,” Yvette Craig, publisher and editor-in-chief of UMOJA Magazine, tells Madison365. “We want them to know that they matter. That’s why I’m super-excited about this.”

UMOJA Magazine will be partnering with the Office of Equity, Partnerships and Engagement in collaboration with the Black Excellence Think Tank to highlight youth voices during the coronavirus pandemic with virtual media arts workshops.

“These are trying times for all of us and it just seems like the news coverage applauds the efforts of teachers and parents and all of the frontline heroes, and rightfully so, but one of the things that we recognize is that the lone voices that are not being heard are from our children. 

UMOJA Magazine Publisher and Editor-in-Chief Yvette Craig

“Our children have been thrust into this online learning environment and they are away from their friends and teammates and all of their social activities,” she adds. “The one thing that really saddens me is that they are missing out on so many of those coming-of-age events like prom and graduation. All that was taken away from them.”

When MMSD’s Black Excellence project called Craig back in March to talk about a partnership for the student, she was all ears.  

“They asked me what I thought about publishing some of the students’ thoughts in UMOJA Magazine and I thought that this was a beautiful idea and was ready to set aside a few pages,” Craig remembers. “From there, it mushroomed into ‘Why don’t we do workshops?’ and give them something to learn along the way.”

Youth in grades 6-12 will have the opportunity to participate in the following workshops: News Reporting, Visual Arts, Poetry/Spoken Word and Storytelling. 

“It all came together pretty quickly and it turned into this wonderful project where we’re going to allow the kids to have a voice,” Craig says. 

While the workshops are specifically for middle and high school students in grades 6-12, students of all ages are encouraged to submit work to be considered for the magazine. All submissions are eligible for prizes and raffles with their submissions. 

Natasha Ria El-Scari

The Virtual Workshop Schedule is as follows:

Spoken Word/Poetry with Natasha Ria El-Scari

Session 1 May 26th & 28th @ 4 pm (Middle School)

Session 2: June 2nd & 4th @4pm (High School)

News Reporting with Yvette Craig

Session 1:  May 26th & 28th @ 10am (Middle School)

Session 2: June 2nd & 4th @10am (High School)

Felicia Clark


Storytelling with Felicia Clark

Session 1: May 26th & 28th @ 2pm (Middle School)

Session 2: June 2nd and 4th @2pm (High School)


Visual Arts with Jerry Jordan

Session 1: May 27th & 29th @ 10am (Middle School)

Session 2: June 3rd and 6th @10am (High School)

Jerry Jordan

“I couldn’t be more elated about it. It will be fun and educational. The workshops will give them a chance to get their creative justice going. I hope the students really enjoy it,” Craig says. “The main thing that excites me about the project is that their voices have not been heard and this is an outlet for them.

“I would love for this to be something that we do every year. It’s something that is very needed,” she adds. “I would love to make this an annual event.”

The deadline to register for these media arts workshops is Tuesday, May 19. Register here. 

For more information, e-mail ycraig@umojamagazine.com.