Aja Beckham graduated with a bachelor of social work from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. She has been a journalist with City Bureau, a non-profit civic media platform on Chicago’s South Side. She reported in the Chicago Lawn neighborhood, focusing on community concerns related to Chicago Parks District. As City Bureau fellow, Aja mentored teens at Lumpen Radio 105.5 FM, a youth-led radio station.
She has also facilitated public newsrooms with City Bureau and REIAs with Chicago United for Equity to provide town hall spaces for the community to be informed, share resources, and act around current events. She also served as economic justice editor with Free Spirit Media, which provides teens and young adults in communities of color with hands-on media production experience. Aja enjoys reporting when the research begins with the community being asked, “What do you want to know more about and to be highlighted in your community?