A photo collage of headshots of all the Stories Invincible reporting fellows. Some are smiling, some are looking thoughtfully off-camera.

Meet the 2022 Stories Invincible reporting fellows

Each fellowship will feature engaged reporting and community gatherings in Camden, NJ

The Stories Invincible selection committee would like to start by extending our gratitude to the outpouring of community responses to our initial call for applications over the summer.

We received 25 insightful storytelling and multimedia concepts, ranging from podcasts to interviews to biographies paying homage to the city of Camden. Though it was far from easy, we are proud to announce the selection of 10 restorative narrative and solutions journalism-based storytelling projects to fund and produce through the end of the year.

Reet Starwind talks about the importance of these fellowships at an event in Woodbury for the South Jersey Information Project.

The fellows represent Camden’s past, present, and future in an eclectic blend of students, organizers, instructors, and local business owners.

Our inaugural Stories Invincible fellows are:

  • Paige Bates is a student of History, daylighting as an archives assistant at Rutgers Camden’s Robeson Library. She is a curator and performer on the local stage, championing the arts, literacy, and unbridled access to clean water in her community.
  • Morgan Lloyd is a curator, educator, and public historian originally from Pennsauken Township. Presently, she is the Programming & Education Coordinator at the African American Museum in Philadelphia.
  • Jamaal Na’im has family roots in Camden and is a graduate of Rutgers Camden in the field of Accounting. Founder of Safe + Sound Stewards, his own accounting firm based here in the city, Jamaal’s goal is to transform his expertise into new opportunities by teaching financial literacy.
  • Erik James Montgomery is a fine art photographer, educator, and “Artivist” who focuses his lens on the pressing cultural and social justice issues. In 2011, Erik founded The Erik James Montgomery Foundation — a non-profit organization dedicated to instructing youth and college students in the artistic development of professional photography.
  • Estefany “Stef” Rodriguez is a Latinx artist based in Camden. She teaches painting and art at Pennsauken high school and Princeton University’s PUPP Program. She is a resident artist at Camden Fireworks where she crafts pottery and ceramics. In all spaces, she aims to teach others to use art as an outlet for self-healing and reflection.
  • Kayla “KaySoul” McEady was born in Camden with both sides of her family deeply rooted in the city. Creating art and community Kay says, is part of her purpose. For her, art is a love that expresses in raising plant life, creating in mixed media, or connecting to ancestors and landscapes.
  • Yocontalie Jackson, a Camden Native, is a Curator and Exhibit Designer. Yocontalie’s work has led to her induction into the Camden Hall of Fame and the reception of IDEA Art Center’s Legacy Life Time Achievement Award. She is committed to working with the community to preserve the legacy and history of the City of Camden.
  • Lemar Boone Jr. has been an avid appreciator of art and storytelling his entire life. Pivoting recently into advocacy and business ownership, Mar’s mission is to combine these elements to shed light upon lesser-represented stories and amplify marginalized voices — empowering and inspiring his community to do the same.
  • David Goodman, long-time Camden resident, has an ever-strong belief in the beneficial power of storytelling. A professional actor of 26 years, he has seen the process and influence of media up-close and personal and believes his stomping ground has tremendous potential to tell those stories.
  • Matt Skoufalos is the founder and editor of NJ Pen, a local news site serving Camden County, New Jersey since 2014. A professional writer of more than 20 years, his background includes economics, business intelligence, public health, and public radio.

Assisting in the production of the works are Camden-area multimedia creator Myles Cream and WHYY reporter/Black In Jersey creator Tennyson Donyea who will serve as project aides.

The incoming fellows will produce projects covering topics such as nutritional needs and food accessibility, financial illiteracy, fatherhood and family resources, resources for and reflections of artists, the complications of cannabis in a recreational era, and the chronicling of Camden’s history in new ways for generations to come.

Each project will feature its own method of engagement and presentation with some fellows organizing community gatherings and others installing original visual displays around the city — with more details to come in the weeks ahead.

The Stories Invincible program is supported by a subgrant from the Community Info Coop in partnership with the Movement Alliance Project, thanks to original funding from the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation and the New Jersey Local News Lab Fund, a partnership between Dodge, Democracy Fund and the Community Foundation of New Jersey.

The New Jersey Council for the Humanities is also sponsoring the two Stories Invincible project aide positions in an effort to flesh out the visual presentation and journalistic documentation of each story. The council’s sponsorship also extends to our closing ceremony which will showcase the fellows’ work to serve as the culmination of this year’s funding cycle at a date and Camden location to be determined this winter.

Reet Starwind is the Stories Invincible project coordinator for the Center for Cooperative Media at Montclair State University. He is an artist, educator, and organizer in the Camden area working with the Center to elevate restorative narratives about Camden’s residents and history. Contact Reet via email at reet@storiesinvincible.org or on Instagram at @mrstarwind.

About the Center for Cooperative Media: The Center is a grant-funded program of the School of Communication and Media at Montclair State University. Its mission is to grow and strengthen local journalism, and in doing so serve New Jersey residents. The Center is supported with funding from Montclair State University, the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, Democracy Fund, the New Jersey Local News Lab (a partnership of the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, Democracy Fund, and Community Foundation of New Jersey), and the Abrams Foundation. For more information, visit CenterforCooperativeMedia.org.

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Reet Starwind

Reet Starwind

Reet Starwind is an artist, educator & organizer in the Camden area working with the Center to elevate restorative narratives about Camden’s residents