The Center for the Study of Race, Ethnicity & Equity is excited to announce the inaugural recipients of the Heartland Journalism Fellowship.

Established by WashU and the River City Journalism Fund, the Heartland Journalism Fellowships support development of aspiring minority and underrepresented writers. During their yearlong residency, fellows will work with WashU faculty as well as staff of The Common Reader, a journal based at WashU, to produce long- and short-form journalism dealing with issues of race, ethnicity and equity. 

The fellowships were initiated by the River City Journalism Fund, a new nonprofit that seeks to advance local journalism in St. Louis, in partnership with The Common Reader. Additional support and sponsorship are provided by: the Black Heartland Fund; WashU’s Center for the Study of Race, Ethnicity & Equity; and the departments of African and African-American Studies and of English, and the Urban Studies program, all in Arts & Sciences. The River City Journalism Fund collected and evaluated fellowship applications. 

2023-2024 Fellows

Keona Dordor

Keona Dordor

Undergraduate Student, Washington University in St. Louis

Lyndsey Ellis

Lyndsey Ellis

St. Louis Novelist

Work by the Heartland Journalism Fellows

How Marginalized Voices Break Barriers

Visiting Latine Poets Talk Honoring the Personal and the Political through Poetic Craft

By: Keona Dordor & Lyndsey Ellis, 2023-2024 Heartland Journalism Fellows

On Thursday, October 12, The Center for the Study of Race, Ethnicity & Equity will welcome Latine poets Roy GuzmánYesenia Montilla, and Matt Sedillo to Washington University in St. Louis for a panel discussion in celebration of Latine Heritage month.

The evening will focus on the poets’ use of poetry to fuel social change and how their work addresses race and identity. Ahead of the event, we were delighted to speak with two of the featured guests, Yesenia Montilla and Matt Sedillo, to learn more about their relationship with poetry.

Poetry found me and has never let go

Yesenia Montilla

For Yesenia Montilla poetry is a meditation, identity, desire, and a vehicle for liberation. Poetry for Latine folks often carries a significant cultural and historical weight. It provides a medium through which they explore their roots, celebrate their cultural heritage, and commemorate the struggles and achievements of their communities.