Palika Makam, US Program Coordinator
Palika Makam is a media activist using film and photo as tools for change. She is the Program Coordinator for WITNESS’ US focused work, engaging activists and communities to use video to document human rights violations involving police and immigration violence, and to protect the rights of LGBTQ, minority, indigenous and vulnerable communities around the country.
Prior to coming to WITNESS, Palika cofounded and ran The Babel Project – a youth media nonprofit partnering with grassroots organizations and activists around the world to teach storytelling and documentary film to advocate for communities and specific policy change. She has worked with activists and organizers in New York, Ferguson, Cape Town and The West Bank, training over 400 people in media advocacy. Media she’s helped produce and organize has been used as evidence in human rights abuse court cases, and utilized for human rights campaigns around education, police violence, and immigration reform. Films have been screened at international film festivals, at The United Nations, community groups, and in high school and university classrooms. Palika believes that visual documentation and counter narratives are integral to creating systemic change, and hopes to help equip more people with the documentation skills and support necessary to bear witness to injustice.
Palika is an Emerging Activist Fellow with Social Change Initiative. She holds a BA in Journalism and Social and Cultural Analysis from NYU, and MA in International Development concentrating in human rights and media from The New School.