September 2016 marked the beginning of an intensive digital fabrication and technologically innovative training and internship three of our members, Amalya Livingston, Akinola Gonzalez, and Gyasi Williams are receiving from INCITE FOCUS, a Detroit, Michigan based Fab Lab, to enable them to become fully certified technicians, and to offer the Academy courses to more members of our community to expand the number of certified technicians.
My name is Amalya Y. Livingston. I am 20 years old, a native of Edwards, MS and a Honors/Distinction graduate of Pearl High School where I was ranked 32nd out of 800+ peers.
I am the second oldest of 5 children who are all Mississippi natives as well. When I am not occupied with being a full-time big sister and daughter, I devote my time to working with grassroots organizations such as: Cooperation Jackson, the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, Respect Our Black Dollars and the Coalition for Economic Justice.
My vision, with becoming a certified Fab Academy graduate, is to see upcoming generations utilize the systems and tools necessary to display their God-given ingenuity and inventiveness to PRODUCE the materials and inventions that will redefine their destinies and reshape their futures.
My name is Omilade Akinola Gonzalez. I was born in Canton, Oh in 1994 and raised on Chicago, IL’s south side. I was homeschooled by my grandmother and mother until the age of 10. I began my first official school experience in the 5th grade. By staying active in my books I became an A/B student by the time I was in the 6th grade. I became a member of the Canton Scholars and the National Honor Society during my senior year in high school.
I started taking STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematic) classes in High School, which included learning about different fields of engineering. This included studying the functions of the 3-D printer and coming up with projects designed around its technology. I received an A in my final project, which included putting together a 3D cube made of different angles created within the cube.
I now reside in Jackson, MS and study civil engineering at Jackson State University. I am a member of Cooperation Jackson and co-anchor of our landscaping and composting worker-owner cooperative called “The Green Team”.
I am also a member of the New Afrikan Spiritual Mindset Awareness Institute, and an initiate of the African spiritual mindset of Orisha/ifa.
My name is Gyasi (pronounced “Jah See”) Kereenyaga Musa Williams. I was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. I am joining the Cooperation Jackson collective because I am inspired by its solution oriented organizing strategy and approach. I hope to help advance the transformative work of Cooperation Jackson by becoming a Fab Lab technician and one of the worker owners of the Center for Community Production that the organization is working to build.
I have a Bachelor’s Degree in History from the University of California at Berkeley. I’ve worked on and off as a jazz musician over the last 20 years, while working in various industries to keep myself afloat (including IT, Sales, automotive manufacture, customer service, etc.). During that time, I’ve started a second bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering, which I am currently in the process of completing.
I have lifelong interests in community activism, development, engineering design and economic empowerment for Black people. I am extremely excited to represent Cooperation Jackson at the Fab Lab training with the team at Incite Focus. This work combines two of the most important passions in my life: helping B lack people take back control of their lives, and using engineering and creative design to do so.
My goals for participating in this Fab Lab internship are two-fold. One, I intend to learn as much as possible about digital fabrication within the Fab Lab environment to be able to create concrete solutions to pressing challenges in the Jackson area. Two, I intend on learning the skills and design process well enough to train and empower as many as possible in the Jackson area to further economic empowerment and justice for people of Mississippi.