Aqiyla Thomas is a documentary filmmaker, media educator and social worker who has an impassioned desire to use visual storytelling as a tool for social change and community empowerment, especially with our young people. With a bachelors in psychology and a masters degree in social work from UNC Chapel Hill, she was first inspired to use video production within her community engagement work in youth mentoring programs. After receiving additional graduate training in documentary filmmaking from Duke University and George Washington University she co-produced and co-directed, Unsettled, a documentary film short about two women living in and on the verge of homelessness in Washington, DC which screened at Our City Film Festival in 2014 and other social justice conferences. Working as a media educator at Meridian Hill Pictures, she taught many nonprofits, teachers, and youth students to film and edit micro-docs through iPad technology. In 2015, her youth documentary film students at Sitar Arts Center produced a film short that has been screened at festivals across the nation, including the leading youth media festival, National Film Festival for Talented Youth. She continues to work as an independent filmmaker in the Washington DC area, highlighting community stories.