We are honored to welcome the 2023 class of fellows! The Dr. Kerry English Creative Fellowship is an 8-month program designed specifically for young adults who have been through the foster care system and are interested in the arts. Individuals accepted into the program are matched with an artist in their creative field of interest, who guides the fellow in their artistic pursuits.
Learn more about them below!
Sherrie Bradford is a driven leader with a passion for foster youth. This passion stems from her lived experience in foster care along with the professional experience that she has gained along the way.
She is an educational rights advocate and consultant with the Alliance for Children’s Rights. She leads a training seminar regularly on black girl adultification and how implicit biases can affect black girls throughout their development. Sherrie also serves as the foster youth commissioner of district three where she collaborates with the Board of Supervisors on what needs to be implemented and gives feedback on what is or isn’t working in those areas. Additionally, Sherrie is a young leader in OYC where she attends meetings and training to advocate for foster youth rights. Lastly, she collaborated (and later secured employment with) Bruin Guardian Scholars’ First-Star Academy, Stepping Forward LA, and Kids in the Spotlight. Sherrie’s goal in this line of work is to advocate for foster youth so that they can have access to spaces where they can express themselves through the arts such as filmmaking, spoken word, and poetry.
Sherrie has her Bachelor of Arts degree in Education and Social Transformation from the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA). Her primary career goal is to build a better pipeline for transitional-aged foster youth. During her time at UCLA, she gained valuable experience in areas such as internships, fellowships, and community engagements. The knowledge and experience Sherrie obtained while at UCLA has equipped her with the best practices to support foster youth, while also incorporating techniques to personalize engagement with each youth on a case-by-case basis.
Sherrie’s personal interests include participating in local open mic nights, talent shows, webinars, and panels, and hosting comedy nights. This October, Sherrie will participate in a play that highlights Biddy Mason, who contributed to many successes in the black community. The play will touch on topics such as slavery, the Chinese massacre, and groundbreaking historical moments. Similarly, as a 2023 Dr. Kerry English Creative Fellow, for her final project, Sherrie will produce a short film, a fashion show, and a solo dance performance. Sherrie is creative, ambitious, and a dynamic artist. By being chosen as a recipient of this year’s Creative Fellowship program, she has been provided with yet another outlet to showcase her art and inspire other foster youth to tackle their dreams in the process.
Alongside dance, Jennifer has an affinity for sound and loves photography. Jennifer is especially reactive to particular sounds and thoroughly enjoys using sound to immerse her audience into her experience. In photography, she enjoys landscape photography, photojournalism, portraiture, and abstract photography. Jennifer is currently having fun experimenting with photography and editing to portray anxiety. Overall, Jennifer wishes to bridge communication with her audience through movement, sound and photos, using personal stories to create a shared, emotional, visceral experience.
l am here to introduce myself and share a short story of how I was born into this place we call LIFE. The main question I ask myself is: What is my purpose in life and why am I here? Honestly, I’m figuring that out along the way, with each and every step I take.
Lately, I’ve been surviving. Living in the streets of Los Angeles and growing up as a black male in this society…it’s really tough trying to maintain and sustain a wealthy lifestyle, or to just be positive, because where I’m from, I rose from the mud itself. Growing up on Section 8 forces you to find a better place. I’m on a mission of creating and finding my peace, happiness, love and the life that is meant for me.
Part of my life was taken away from me. My Brother CJ went upstate in 2012 for 9 years, then my other brother, Kenny, was murdered by a police officer in 2014. March 6th, 2014 left me eternally traumatized, depressed, and mentally exhausted. I really didn’t want to live on without him. I couldn’t ever imagine life without family. I’ll always seek justice for him and will forever honor his legacy by living through his name, creating power throughout my journey for our family. We will fight together for our FREEDOM, and release the mental and physical shackles that burdens our community.
My dream is to become the support for the next generation that I didn’t have for myself. I also want to support any struggling individuals like me who have been in group homes, foster care, juvenile hall, or who are close to falling into crime.
Life has never been easy, but no matter how many times it knocked me down, I stayed relentless, intelligent and strived towards my goals and dreams. Through it all, I’m learning that the past doesn’t define my future.
I’m honored that I was chosen as one of the 2023 Dr. Kerry English Creative Fellowship recipients.