Emma Shaw Crane (2009)

Indigenous Women's Media and Poetry Project

Working with COMPPA, a collective based in Chiapas, Mexico, Emma will develop and facilitate the Indigenous and Garífuna Women's Media and Poetry Project, a series of workshops offered at peoples' community organizations in Chiapas and Oaxaca (Mexico), Petén, Alta Verapaz, and Quiché, (Guatemala), and Intibucá, Antlántida & Tegucigalpa (Honduras). The project proposes to address underdevelopment, low literacy rates, and lack of political representation for indigenous and Garífuna communities, particularly women, through community radio and poetry. The central premise of the project is that access to media and literacy among young women is integral to economic, cultural, political self-determination. The project emphasizes the community radio and poetry as necessary tools of resistance and as ways of building autonomy.

In the process of completing this project, Emma will strengthen her facilitation skills and develop a variety of Spanish-language poetry and media arts curriculum. The project will culminate in the publication of a book of poems and radio essays by participants. For an article about the poetry project click here.

Biography

Emma grew up on an apple orchard in Graton, Sonoma County, and attended a Waldorf school, where she learned how to build things and love school. As a first and second-grader, she lived with her parents and godparents in Chiapas, Mexico. During high school, she played basketball, organized against the war in Iraq, rode horses, and followed her mom to work at a local labor center. At UC Berkeley, she combined classes in African American Studies, Urban Studies, and Development Studies to create an interdisciplinary degree in race, gender, and political economy. She minored in Global Poverty and Practice, a project of the Blum Center for Developing Economies. Emma wrote an Honors thesis on anti-gang injunctions and the militarization and racialization of public space. In the spring of 2009, she received the University Medal, UC Berkeley’s coveted prize for the top graduating senior.

Outside of school, she worked at Prison Radio, a radio program featuring the voices of political prisoners in the U.S. and Latin America, and as a health educator for Migrant Education. Some of her favorite things about college included studying at the American University of Beirut for a semester her junior year, coordinating a youth radio project and internship program with the support of the Donald A. Strauss Foundation at Berkeley Technology Academy, a local continuation high school, and facilitating poetry workshops as a Student Teacher Poet in June Jordan's Poetry for the People. Emma was named a Berkeley Engaged Scholarship Initiative Scholar in 2008-2009 for her work with Poetry for the People. Her poetry appears in Time you Let Me In: 25 Poets Under 25, published in February 2010 by HarperCollins.

In 2010, she will begin a Fulbright in Bogota, Colombia, where she plans to study gender, citizenship, structural violence, and HIV/AIDS through ethnographic work with women living with HIV. Her goals and hopes for the next few years include finally finishing a collection of poems, getting certified in wilderness rescue, going to graduate school, and surfing the Pacific coast of Colombia.