Stories Invincible applications for our second round of fellowships are now open

Camden-based journalists and media makers are encouraged to apply by Dec. 18, 2023

Reet Starwind
Center for Cooperative Media
5 min readNov 17

The Center for Cooperative Media at Montclair State University is proud to announce a second year of community storytelling fellowships, through the Stories Invincible initiative.

Stories Invincible supports restorative narrative reporting by and for communities of color in South Jersey and highlights stories from Camden-based journalists and media makers.

As we announce our open call for the 2024 fellowship applications, I’ll start by extending our sincerest gratitude towards every applicant, reporting fellow, community partner, and Camden citizen who had a hand in an incredible inaugural year of Stories Invincible. Since launching last fall, we’ve assembled bright minds and passionate hearts into the creation of stories that capture the humanity and spirit of the invincible city.

We aim to keep this momentum going into 2024 with more stories and projects that highlight and spark humanitarian efforts in Camden.

We will have $25,000 in project funding available for 5 new projects. As before, we seek submissions from Camden-based journalists and media makers and will emphasize the selection of voices traditionally excluded from mainstream news media.

As with last year’s fellowships, we are open to a variety of topics and formats for chronicling these stories and we are excited about the prospect of seeing what the Camden community comes up with next.

Applications will be open from now through Dec. 18, 2023.

Updates from returning fellows

In addition to the new reporting fellowships, we will be extending support for five projects from our original round led by Paige Bates, LeMar Boone, Morgan Lloyd, Kayla Maxwell-McEady, and Estefany ‘Stef’ Rodriguez. From healthy food equity, to improved legislation, to preserving the history and identity of Camden, these are efforts we are confident will continue opening up conversations and meaningful change.

Here are some exciting updates about their projects and what they hope to achieve in the coming year.

  • ‘Water in a food desert’ by Paige Bates: Paige will orchestrate a series of in-person events this coming spring that will include seed/plant giveaways, gardening demonstrations, & education on healthy produce & dieting. The gatherings will also feature various Camden area food workers, cooks, and nutritionists sharing their insights and methods. Following positive community feedback, this project will also resume with the production of ‘Camden Food’ booklets, this time in partnership with Rutgers Camden Ph.D student Melissa Thompson.
  • Cannabis in Camden’ by LeMar Boone: As the Cannabis industry takes root in Camden, the fight for equality and economic empowerment continues, ‘Cannabis in Camden’ is a documentary project that seeks to share a glimpse of a future in which communities once most affected by the War on Drugs can finally reap the benefits of this burgeoning industry. LeMar will work on completing the documentary, and host an in-person viewing party and expungement event to celebrate the debut of the short film.
  • 1838 Black Metropolis’ by Morgan Lloyd: This project began as an exploration of Fettersville, a free Black community in South Camden founded in 1833. The focus has evolved into an effort “to reclaim, rewrite and restore suppressed or forgotten Black Histories’’ from the nearby city of Philadelphia. But the creator wants to bring it back to Camden and host an in-person interactive event at Camden Fireworks, highlighting what historic Black Camden neighborhoods might have been if properly preserved.
  • Restoration of our City Gods’ by Kayla Maxwell-McEady: Momentum toward the restoration of Ms. Kimberly Camp’s 1980s Camden mural continues to build. Kayla’s plan is to create a short documentary about the mural, interviewing the original artists, residents, and more to paint a picture of why the art deserves to be preserved.
  • Beauty in the Brokenness’ by Estefany ‘Stef’ Rodriguez: Stef plans to use her funding to mentor another pair of Camden art students, with a condensed, 3-week program. Previously, students exhibited their art inside on gallery walls, this time she seeks a community partner to offer an outdoor public space for students to display their work for all the city to see.
Photos from last year’s showcase of the work produced by our initial Stories Invincible cohort. Credit: Elliot Colon.

Join this amazing group in another year of reclaiming Camden’s narrative. Every day the city grows and changes and it is our goal to do the same, opening up space for more voices to shed more light on what’s growing here.

And if you live in or are from Camden and have a story about the city and its people that needs to be told, click here to sign up for updates about info sessions and other opportunities.

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 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



Reet Starwind
Center for Cooperative Media

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