Pamela Monk

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Pamela Monk is a storyteller, teacher and writer.

She spent 17 years in the Ithaca (NY) City School District where she taught middle school science and language arts, and oversaw her middle school performing arts program. During her Ithaca years, she was a founding member of Odyssey Storytellers. In 1999 she joined the faculty of Penn State’s Donald P. Bellasario College of Communication in the Journalism Department where she teaches courses in feature writing for online publication. Her interests have led her to create a variety of theatre events that involve song parody, storytelling and audience participation. Her plays have been produced in PA and NYC, and her writings have been published in a wide variety of outlets.

She is the founder of State of the Story, a personal narrative storytelling initiative that began in 2012 in State College, PA. A sampling of her work can be found at https://pamelamonk.contently.com/.

Teresa Hamilton

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Teresa Hamilton is an Assistant Teaching Professor of English at Penn State University, writer and storyteller.

A professionally trained journalist, with over 15 years of experience teaching writing at high school and university levels, Teresa began writing stories at the University of Arkansas Pine Bluff, where she earned a BA in Mass Communications with emphasis in Print Journalism. She received her MS in News and Editorial Journalism from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and completed secondary teaching certification in Journalism and English including graduate work in 20th century American literature at Eastern Illinois University.

Storytelling has always been part of her life. She listened to her grandmother, mother and father tell stories about family members she never met and stories about family whose faces have slowly faded from her memory.  Her stories about family, Black Southern living, human behavior and education are used in the freshman honors course and advance business writing course that she has been teaching for 8 years.  Teresa is a co-founder of State of the Story.

Alyse Horn-Pyatt

Alyse Horn-Pyatt, a Penn State University graduate, brings her talent, experience and interests to Storyburgh as managing editor. While reporting for and editing PSU’s student-run newspaper The Daily Collegian, Alyse studied print journalism and minored in philosophy.

Since college, she has served as managing editor for The Northside Chronicle and, among other organizations, has worked with New Sun Rising, Work Hard Pittsburgh and teQ Magazine.

Spending much of her childhood outdoors, Alyse said it has been natural to see her journalistic interests transition towards focusing on environmental issues. Her life interests remain broad, however, but she said journalism allows her to keep a balance.

“I look at it like I have attained my childhood goal of being a ballerina on Monday, a veterinarian on Tuesday, a teacher on Wednesday… because each story allows you to step into the shoes of the people you are writing about.”

Will Halim

Will Halim was born in Jakarta, Indonesia, lived in the Bay Area and Pasadena in California, educated in Electrical Engineering & Computer Science at UC Berkeley, worked in banking, software consulting, semiconductor and is currently a nonprofit entrepreneur.

He can recall sitting on the balcony of his aunt’s house as a child and watching the people below. He was curious; where were they going? What were their stories?

These thoughts stuck with him, and later in life he wanted to expand on how humans could learn from each other through storytelling. In 2015, Will founded Storyburgh with the intention to connect people, nonprofits, and other mission driven organizations to share knowledge and amplify human experiences through words and images.

Will’s storytelling medium is photography, which he pursued in high school and in Los Angeles until he moved to Pittsburgh with his family in 2010. In LA he experimented with paparazzi, glamour, fashion and street photography, but Pittsburgh has honed his eyes to capture and expose the interconnection between us all.

His photography works have been exhibited in LA and Pittsburgh galleries as well as in The Westmoreland Museum of American Art and The Butler Institute of American Art.

Are you angered by the death of George Floyd? We are.

Are you concerned that property destruction and violence are driving the focus away from peaceful and just demonstrations? We are.

Are you ready for Pittsburgh to go back to normal? We are not.

Murder in broad daylight, by agents of the state, is horrific and shocking and cannot stand.

But there are many other and more subtle ways to choke life from BIPOC, all very normal in the before times, such as:

All of this normal, accepted behavior is slow motion violence:  failing to act systematically, diligently and persistently, as documented by a scathing scientific study (commissioned by City of Pittsburgh) that indicates that Pittsburgh is the worst city in America for Black People.

https://verysmartbrothas.theroot.com/pittsburgh-is-the-worst-city-in-america-for-black-peopl-1838218551

Yes, we ALL want to feel comfortable and good about ourselves– displaying black screen as avatars, discussing/arguing in social media echo-chambers, posting public statements that you “stand with them.” But feeling comfortable without changing a thing at the expense of BIPOC, especially our Black brothers and sisters, can no longer be an option.

Please watch this video of Van Jones about latent danger of racism and then look at yourself at the mirror. Next, ask people in your own network and circle of influence to do the same.

Back to the old normal is not acceptable.

What are you going to do to create a better now?

 

Respectfully,
Will Halim
Founding Director of Storyburgh

 

Storyburgh is run by freelancers/part-timers who each have own individual views. The opinion expressed here is my own and does not represent that of the entire group.

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