Black Journalists, Author, Activist
Alisha Pina has been a storyteller since elementary school. Not with lies and creative babble that is signature for many kiddos. She instead became an author early with her very short book, How the Cat Got its Tail. The less than four-page staple bound piece – a school assignment that earned her an A – included dialogue, illustrations, a magic city of elves and a fake copyright seal.
Bullying, low self-esteem, family wounds and race strain were dark muses for her early poetry. The literary works helped land her an internship with the Providence Journal, Rhode Island’s lone statewide paper, at age 17. Her laidback style, eye for the unusual and firm belief that all have a story worth telling made the young journalist stand out. Community and writing awards quickly followed.
The yearlong Race in RI series – which Alisha pitched with others, helped plan and was a significant contributor to – received national recognition and an award with the National Association of Black Journalists. It explored and acknowledged the many contributions creating gaps between white Rhode Islanders and everyone else. The social justice, responsible journalism also included thoughtful solutions. That project amplified the Boston University alumna’s desire to fight more for social justice, women empowerment and youth with limitless potential. She consults for small businesses and nonprofits and works with like-minded community leaders to drive systemic change. Alisha left the newspaper in 2017 to become Chief Public Affairs Officer for the Rhode Island Department of Human Services – another avenue to help her home state. Not even a year later, the East Providence native was honored as a Woman of Achievement recipient by YWCA Rhode Island.
With God leading the way, the multi-hyphenate continues to uplift and advocate daily. During the pandemic, she ended a 14-year volleyball business and mentorship program, but continues to encourage all with passionate, vulnerable motivational speeches. In addition, she coordinates and hosts necessary, sometimes edgy and always memorable talks that create a better understanding and healing between age groups, cultures and communities. Alisha is currently writing her first novel. It isn’t about a cat gaining its tail but is another way for her to positively impact the masses.
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