I recently accepted a position with Mill Woods United Church as their Marketing Project Coordinator through the summer. This part-time position will have me helping the congregation out with its website and social media (as well as other marketing materials) to help them reach out further into the community and hopefully attract new members. In less than two weeks I have already made some major changes to the website, enhanced their existing social media (Twitter and Facebook), and created the infrastructure for new social media developments on Instagram, Tumblr, and YouTube. I think it is going to be an interesting summer.

Work and life have been keeping me pretty busy these last few months, but I have some news to share: I was the first place winner in the 2016 Inner City Poetry Contest! The theme was “Inner City Drum Beats” and I was utterly stunned when my poem “AM in the Hood” took first place. I read the poem at an Edmonton Poetry Festival event on April 17 and the poem (along with possibly a couple of others that I submitted to the contest) will be published in a chapbook this fall.

The video I am working on concerning social housing in McCauley continues to roll along. The working title is now McCauley: A Caring Community – Conversations on Social Housing. Most of the interviews have been completed and editing has begun.

Musically speaking, I performed this past weekend at the Edmonton Earth Day Festival! Here are some videos from the three sets I did.

 

Early in the new year I will begin filming my next video project for the City of Edmonton/McCauley Revitalization. Entitled “McCauley: A Place to Call Home – Housing Issues in a Caring Community,” the short film will explore issues of housing and homelessness in the neighbourhood and how other communities can learn from McCauley’s example. The ultimate message is that housing needs to be a city-wide responsibility.The film is also being made with the assistance of Boyle McCauley News. I’ll be posting updates concerning the project at the associated website and Facebook page.

During this holiday season I edited and voiced a short documentary for the local Oromian community to raise awareness of human rights abuses in their home country of Ethiopia. The video went viral pretty much as soon as it hit social media. “Oromo Lives Matter: The Oromo Popular Resistance Against the Infamous Addis Ababa Master Plan” was an extremely interesting experience for me, because I myself was unaware of the Oromo people and what they are experiencing until this past December, when I filmed a protest the local community did as part of a global day of action. I connected with community leaders a short while later, which led to the creation of the video below.

I found out earlier today that I was named one of Edmonton’s top 200 social media influencers by Jay Palter Social Advisory. Palter is a social media strategist based in Calgary. I was certainly honoured to be named along with such major players in Edmonton (and Alberta’s) social media scene, like Mayor Don Iveson, Premier Rachel Notley, and MP Linda Duncan.

On May 30, I was honoured to be named a True Friend of McCauley by the City of Edmonton/McCauley Revitalization. Around 50 residents, business owners, faith leaders, and representatives of agencies/non-profits who have contributed to the McCauley neighbourhood. The awards were handed out by Scott McKeen, Ward 6 City Councillor. I was in the Agencies/Non-Profit category for my work with Boyle McCauley News and several Revitalization projects such as a series of historical/walking tour booklets and the McCauley Moments film.

True Friends of McCauley Awards Banquet

However, Revitalization Coordinator Jane Molstad was surprised when the tables were turned and we ended up honouring her! She was gifted with a digital art print I created of Sacred Heart Church.

True Friends of McCauley Awards Banquet

Hello readers of my work blog. I attended the third annual Edmonton New Media Awards (better known as “The Yeggies”) on May 9. RadicalCitizenMedia.com was short-listed for the second year in a row in the category of “Best in Politics or Current Affairs.” Although I did not win, it was super to have my work recognized by Edmonton’s social media community. However, I am happy to say that I Heart Edmonton, the blog for which I write book reviews, won “Best in Edmonton!”

Another booklet in the series of historical/educational titles about the McCauley neighbourhood should be heading to print soon. This latest one is on Chinatown. I am also currently overseeing the next booklet, which will be on the Aboriginal aspects of McCauley. These booklets are being produced in partnership with McCauley Revitalization/City of Edmonton.

It’s been a busy new year. I just received my contributor’s copies of Toasts: The Perfect Words to Celebrate Every Occasion (Viva Editions, 2014). It was published back in the fall and features three toasts I wrote: for a new job, Passover, and Chanukah.

I created a short promotional video for Daughter’s Day, with interviews and photos. I interviewed Mayor Don Iveson, and I sing at the end of it. Here it is:

My community access program on Shaw TV, From the Ground Up: Activists and Activism in Edmonton, recently began it’s second season. The station informed me that they will be putting the show on their website, but in the meantime you can watch the web versions of the show here.