We Tell Our Stories is a grassroots film collective based in Oakland, California. We believe in the power of people and storytelling. Our documentary-in-progress, We Tell Our Stories: This Side of Oakland, explores the intersection of ordinary people and community activism. The goal is to show what happens when communities band together to create social justice and economic equality. In the spirit of unity, we aim to acknowledge the tireless efforts of individuals that inspire everyone to be local agents of positive change.
Cassandra Lopez is a lover of people with a soft spot for humanity which led her to a full life in grassroots activism. Born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, Lopez picked up her first picket sign at 10 years old during a Woolworth's demonstration. Since then, she's orchestrated and participated in numerous protests against injustice. She's a retired educator who spent over 30 years teaching Spanish, ESL, English, and Arican-American History to high schoolers. Her devotion to community and her deep involvement in the civil rights movement resulted in her vision to create a film documenting necessary change.
Michelle P. Kern has worked as a ceramics teacher in the Bay Area for several years. She has lived and worked primarily in the East Bay in the arts, including work at the Richmond Art Center and helping to found the independent art gallery, Cricket Engine, in Oakland. She relocated back to her native Peninsula four years ago to be closer to work, and now is beginning art, activism and union activity in Silicon Valley.
At the age of 3, Anita Martinez migrated from Bolivia to the United States. She lived on the East Coast and moved to the Bay Area during her teens. Her family has always been heavily involved in radical politics. She went on the Venceremos Brigade to Cuba and participated in the Third World Strike in the 1970's. Martinez formed a friendship with Mrs. Lopez which was born out of their mutual interest and involvement in the working class movement. She's currently an educator and political activist who's interested in filming everyday people and their struggles in Oakland.
Lyndsey Ellis is a writer and activist. Born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri, she moved to the San Francisco Bay Area to pursue an education in creative arts and obtain her Masters Degree from California College of the Arts. Ellis is passionate about exploring the intersection of African-American history and cultural trauma, specifically through the lens of Black women. Her work appears in several publications, and her interest in film stems from a growing desire to examine related topics on the screen.
Ann Penny-Baten-Cudjoe was born in Trinidad and moved to New York and New Jersey in the 1980's. She came to California in the 1990's. Since the age of 9, she's enjoyed the culinary arts. She started selling her home-cooked goods from her car and quickly became in demand, establishing her own restaurant, Penny's Carribbean, in Berkeley. She's catered for for many years, and her food is a mix of Trinidadian roots and American styles. She's a fervent advocate for women's rights and civil rights which sparked her interest in helping with the creation of We Tell Our Stories: This Side of Oakland.