HomeIssue 2: Forest ParkBehind the Forest Park Issue

Behind the Forest Park Issue

Canopy Atlanta partners with Atlantans to choose, report, and present journalism responding to community needs, helping residents access information about the issues that matter most to them.


Canopy Atlanta paid and trained four Forest Park community members—our Forest Park Fellows—to learn journalism skills over a six-week program, during which they contributed reporting to the stories in this issue in partnership with established journalists. Those Fellows will use their new skills to keep accessing information on behalf of their communities.

To choose the stories in this issue, Canopy connected with more than 120 Forest Park community members and convened a Forest Park Community Editorial Board  to help guide story angles.


Canopy Atlanta is transforming how Atlanta’s journalism is produced by partnering with residents that need better access to information about their community. Join us in making sure every Atlantan can access the information they need by supporting our work today.

Meet our Forest Park Issue team:

Our four Forest Park Fellows, who applied for the program in May, partnered with established local journalists to produce the Forest Park Issue. Canopy Atlanta provided instruction and mentorship in reporting skills through a six-week paid training program.

Rachel McBride
Rachel McBride, 17, is a North Clayton High School student who has developed deep roots and connections in the Forest Park community through her organizing work with Clayton County Sunrise Movement, Partnership for Southern Equity, and United Way of Greater Atlanta. She is passionate about committing to her neighbors in order to bring about healing in all of Clayton County. The fellowship is a way for her to engage the Forest Park community in a way that she feels not enough neighbors are doing. “This is our home,” she says, “and I look forward to learning about it and improving it.”
About me
Ann Pellegrine
Ann Pellegrine has lived in Forest Park most of her life. After graduating from Forest Park High School in 1983, she attended Clayton Junior College and worked for Clayton County Public Schools from 1985 until her retirement in 2016. Like many white residents at the time, she moved to Henry County in the late ’80s. However, she returned to her family home in Forest Park with her husband Cliff, a special needs teacher at Forest Park High School, making it their permanent residence again over 20 years ago. Living where she worked helped fuel her passion for supporting students and their families through three decades of socioeconomic change. An avid reader and amateur writer, Ann is also vocal about social justice and political activism. The opportunity to serve as a Canopy Atlanta Fellow fulfills a life-long goal to write and share stories relevant to the history and rebirth of her beloved community.
About me
Jardena Robinson
Jardena (pronounced Yar-day-nuh) Robinson is an Atlanta transplant who now calls the Forest Park area home. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Broadcast Journalism from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2008. During that time, she wrote articles and filmed various news segments for the university newspaper and television broadcast. Later, she published her own blog and now enjoys sharing pictures of her foodie adventures on Instagram. She hopes to shine a light on the positive voices in the Forest Park community.
About me
Angie (Thuy Hang) Tran
As a first generation American, Angie (Thuy Hang) Tran works to amplify the concerns and hopes of her diverse community members through advocacy and writing. Until nine years old, Angelina grew up in a former war zone in Vietnam, where she was surrounded by remnants of the war. The humbling privilege of listening to survivors’ narratives solidified her commitment to human rights and storytelling as truth to power. She taught English to immigrants and refugees for over five years before obtaining her Master’s in Education Policy. Angie’s father and relatives live in Forest Park, home to one of Atlanta’s largest Vietnamese enclaves. She looks forward to diving deeper into the history and transformation of the city and its relationship with new Americans.
About me

Workshop Facilitators and Mentors:

Thomas Wheatley, Max Blau, Sonam Vashi, Jewel Wicker

Our Forest Park Community Editorial Board, who applied for the roles in May, helped us refine the story angles in the issue based on feedback collected from more than 120 Forest Park community members.

Bambie Hayes-Brown
A rural Southwest Georgia native and four-year resident of Forest Park, Dr. Bambie Hayes-Brown is the President & CEO of Georgia Advancing Communities Together, Inc., a statewide membership organization of housing and community development agencies. She has 24 years’ experience in rural and urban housing, community and economic development and is a licensed and ordained minister in Forest Park.
About me
Kesha Crockett
A proud graduate of Frederick Douglass High School and Georgia State University, Kesha Crockett currently operates an advertising agency (raesigns.com) in Clayton County and serves as the Forest Park High School Council President. She has managed advertising campaigns for companies like Willie A. Watkins, Fortune Metal of Riverside, Subway (Forest Park) and more, and she has created youth training camps to introduce teenagers to careers available in the advertising industry.
About me
Beverly Martin
Beverly J. Martin is a lifelong Forest Park resident. She worked for City Archives for seven years, where she helped set up and run the City of Forest Park Museum and assisted in writing “Images of America: Forest Park.” She also served on the planning board for the city's Centennial Celebration. Ms. Martin graduated from Forest Park High in 1982 and attended Clayton College and State University. She is retired and spends time caring for others.
About me
Wande Okunoren-Meadows
Wande Okunoren-Meadows is a nationally recognized early-childhood advocate and executive director of Forest Park’s Little Ones Learning Center, a holistic early-childhood education program where 175 children, their families, and staff grow, eat, and learn about local and sustainably grown food. Her mother, Olutoyin Okunoren, purchased the Center in 1994. She is also executive director of Hand Heart and Soul Project (HHSP), founded in 2018 to serve Clayton County through actionable training, resources, and support.
About me

Experienced local journalists, photographers, and illustrators contributed to our Forest Park Issue, working on stories based on the community’s feedback or in collaboration with Forest Park Fellows.

Nicole Buchanan
Nicole Buchanan is a documentary photographer based in Atlanta and a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design with a BFA in photography. Nicole is an enthusiastic, young photographer utilizing her skills to explore innovative ways to invoke emotional insight into cultural and political events that shape our world.
About me
Sean Fahie

Illustrator, Forest Park Issue cover

Sean Fahie (pronounced FOY) is a contract graphic designer, illustrator, creative consultant, and author based out of Atlanta. He specializes in print-based media with extensive experience in design, illustration, branding, marketing, and apparel. Fahie also has published three books, written one short film, and coproduced one full-length feature.
About me
Floyd Hall
Floyd Hall is a media strategist, cultural producer, writer, and documentarian from Atlanta, Georgia. His professional work often relates to the intersection of art, media and technology as platforms, and he is passionate about how history, culture and art blend together to construct narratives of place.
About me
Rita Harper
Rita Harper is a documentary photographer/photojournalist born, raised, and based in Atlanta. Her work is set to amplify the voices and narratives of the everyday working-class Black individual, and minority groups across the diaspora, as a reminder that all our lives serve purpose and importance no matter what stage in our transition to greatness.
About me
Audra Melton

Photographer, "State of flux"

Audra Melton is an editorial and commercial photographer based in Atlanta. Her work is a combination of storytelling and portraiture often with a focus on social issues.
About me
Beth McKibben
Beth McKibben currently serves as the editor and reporter for Eater Atlanta, part of the Eater network of digital city publications under the Vox Media umbrella. Based in Atlanta, her work has also appeared in Atlanta magazine, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and Liquor.com.
About me
Hannah Palmer
Hannah S. Palmer, a native of Forest Park, is the author of Flight Path: A Search for Roots beneath the World’s Busiest Airport. Since 2017, she has led a campaign to restore the urban headwaters of Georgia’s Flint River. She also serves on Canopy Atlanta's board of directors.
About me
Stephannie Stokes

Writer, "The Southside"

Stephannie Stokes reports on housing issues for WABE 90.1 FM, the NPR station in Atlanta.
About me
Sonam Vashi

Writer, "State of flux"

Sonam Vashi is an award-winning freelance journalist who's written for the New York Times, ProPublica, Atlanta magazine, National Geographic, and several others. She is a cofounder and Operations Director of Canopy Atlanta.
About me
Muriel Vega
Muriel Vega is an Atlanta-based journalist who’s written for the Washington Post, Atlanta magazine, Delta Sky Magazine, Apartment Therapy, Eater, and several others. She focuses her writing on technology, culture, and food, with a special Atlanta lens.
About me
Kavi Vu

Photographer, "The Southside"

Kavi Vu is a Vietnamese American storyteller and community organizer from Atlanta. In a society driven by statistics and analytics, she lives to tell stories that foster empathic and inclusive communities.
About me
Jewel Wicker
Atlanta native Jewel Wicker is an award-winning journalist who covers entertainment and culture for publications such as GQ, Teen Vogue and Atlanta magazine. Her work focuses on often-overlooked Black southern experiences.
About me

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Read the Forest Park Issue