You will see posts from Mame Djarra and Jessica throughout the blog. If you have any questions, we would love to hear from you!
Mame Djarra Diop, B.A. Medgar Evers College, Public Administration
Mamedjarra is the founder of Cultural Arts program Sunu Thiossane. Sunu Thiossane (pronounced Soo-noo Cho-Sahn) is a youth development agency that utilizes the arts and sciences as a platform to connect with young people and have them engage in socially-conscious projects and programming that will incite creativity and self-expression, while inspiring compassion and empathy. As long as she can remember, Mamedjarra has always been an advocate of the development of Africa. As a child she had the privilege of growing up in two cultures and living both in the US and Senegal. Her Mother is African-American and her father is from Senegal West Africa. Mamedjarra knew early on that she both loved the arts and would one day work with youth. She never realized at the time that her mission would be to be a liaison of both continents through youth. After attending The Senegalese American Bilingual High School in Senegal, Mamedjarra moved back to New York to receive a bachelor’s degree in Public Administration at Medgar Evers College City University of New York. Her education and experience have given her the opportunity to speak at the United Nations, work with various NGOs in Senegal and the US. Most importantly, Mamedjarra values the significance of giving back to her community but also giving validation to the youth on both continents as a tool for self-worth. Her passion is to empower youth to make better life choices through education, culture and the arts and, to also be an example of achievement and pride among African people. Mamedjarra believes that being raised back and forth from Dakar to Brooklyn made her who she is today, the liaison for the youth from both cultures. A trained dancer and choreographer, Mame Djarra is a member of the Sunu Thiossane, Harambee and Forces of Nature Dance Companies. She trains with Broadway Dance Center, Alvin Ailey Extension and the Mark Morris Dance Group and has offered workshops at Hampshire College, Bowdoin College, Fairfield University, and for the US Navy in Singonella, Italy.
Jessica Epstein, B.A. New York University Gallatin School, Visual Culture and Social Change
Jessica is interested in creating arts events that make people feel connected to others in their community and provide opportunities for personal creativity. Jessica is currently a Casting Associate Producer on History Channel’s American Pickers, Cineflix Productions in New York City. She has also served Cineflix Productions as Archivist, Casting Researcher, Production Assistant, and Props Manager. Prior to her work at Cineflix, Jessica was Workshop Programs Coordinator for Community Works, a nonprofit arts and education organization whose mission is to bridge schools and communities, enrich educational curricula and celebrate neighborhood cultures and histories. She has also served as Production Assistant to Filmmaker Alison Chernick. Jessica has worked as a Language and Culture Assistant in Spain, a teacher for Jumpstart/AmeriCorps, served as Director of Exhibits at Art for Global Justice, and has interned at The Paley Center and Exit Art. She is currently a member of Mobile Print Power, a multigenerational arts collective that uses silkscreen printmaking to engage communities and explore social and cultural situations. Jessica was selected as an Emerging Leaders of New York Arts (ELNYA) Fellow in 2015.