The West Side United Social Change Communications Fellowship program in partnership with Free Spirit Media provides a platform for creatives ages 18-30 to use video, photography, graphic design, and social media to communicate our efforts to improve neighborhood health by addressing inequality in healthcare, education, economic vitality and the physical environment with West Side residents.
DeMario Phipps-Smith, Social Media Fellow
DeMario is a writer, journalist and social entrepreneur from North Lawndale. Idolizing Michael Jordan’s legendary 90s basketball run, DeMario got his start in sports media and has acquired bylines in publications like the Chicago Sun-Times. Though writing is his gift, DeMario is passionate about building relationships and contributing to the revitalization of the West Side. Currently, he is committed to work that honors and dignifies the people of local Chicago communities.
Gerardo Duran, Photograph & Videography Fellow
Born in the Southwest Side of Chicago, Gerardo Duran has dedicated the past 10 years of his life learning how to work with various forms of mixed media, including filmmaking, photography, graphic design, and more. After being exposed to extremely privileged people during his college career, Gerardo decided to bring his skills to his community where he felt he could bring the most impact. He has been working with underserved communities ever since helping local businesses grow through the use of Social Media Marketing and professional visual content.
Willie Porter, Graphic Fellow
Born and raised on the Westside of Chicago, Willie Porter (Will) is a product of the blue-collar family who has segued into entrepreneurship and community involvement. Will is a fine example that the hoods of Chicago can produce elite, driven individuals as an alum of both the mediocre and superior schools in the Chicago Public Schools system. Along with his family’s newfound business, a printing company, and niche after school programs, Will began to find his purpose and calling as a creative.