Arlana Shikongo

Neighborhood and Politics Beat Editor, The Real Chi


Arlana is a Namibian woman who moved to the United States to pursue her higher education in media. She graduated from Ithaca College, NY with a BA degree in journalism, with minors in writing and economics.

With her journalism, she focuses on issues of development economics and civic engagement. At Free Spirit Media, Arlana is the neighborhood and politics beat editor for Real Chi Youth which entails covering stories in the west and south side neighborhoods of Chicago that focus on community initiatives, special events, and local access and governance. In this role, she aims to give voice to communities whose stories are ignored and exacerbated by oppressive and systemic social and economic structures. She focuses on themes encompassing identity, culture, and society; and is passionate about the story in all things, animate and inanimate. She wants her work to have the impact of inclusion and visibility— work that speaks to the people it speaks of, accurately, fairly and passionately.

Her mediums of creative expression include photography, visual storytelling, and creative writing. She is interested in subjects that look at the intersection of mental health, queerness and racial identity. Her hobbies include writing poetry, sketching, scrapbooking, gardening and producing short, narrative videos.