The Unwed Mother Agenda

Kristin Leong is an award-winning multimedia producer. She is an AIR New Voices Scholar and a TED-Ed Innovative Educator. ROCK PAPER RADIO is her newsletter for misfits and unlikely optimists.

Artist Bio

The Unwed Mother Agenda will be a multimedia exploration of the failure of America’s family court system to protect our most vulnerable caregivers and children due to systemic misunderstanding and dismissal of domestic violence. This project will culminate in a nonfiction essay collection and podcast. Both the essays and the audio features will weave reporting on historical inequities and shortcomings of the family court system into the author’s experience of single motherhood and fighting for justice and safety for herself and her son for over a decade. In addition to data-focused reporting on the disproportionate representation of mothers of color and families experiencing poverty who are struggling within the system, reporting will include interviews and case studies of justice-involved families. Special attention will be focused on the ways family court policies and procedures enable and reproduce experiences of trauma onto domestic violence victims. The podcast will be a narrated, highly produced, sound-rich series, produced and hosted by the author. This project hopes to fuel conversation that leads to systemic and sustainable policy changes for our family court system that will result in safer and more equitable outcomes for all.

Sustainable Development Goals icon SDG Goal icon for Gender Equality.

Award Year

In Progress

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Kristin Leong

Seattle, WA

Kristin Leong, M.Ed. is the publisher of ROCK PAPER RADIO (, a newsletter for misfits and unlikely optimists. Odd One In is her podcast sharing stories of outsiders making their own way. She is a 2021 AIR New Voices scholar and one of 20 international creators selected to be part of CUNY’s 2021 Entrepreneurial Journalism Creators Program. She was previously a producer with NPR affiliate KUOW Public Radio. As an international TED-Ed Innovative Educator, Leong founded, a global portrait and storytelling project humanizing the culture gaps in schools. ROLL CALL is used in classrooms around the world to fuel conversation about equity and representation. Her portrait photography project HALF: Biracial + Bicultural in America was nominated for a USA Today’s Outstanding Academic and Intellectual Endeavor Award in 2003. When she was a senior at Sarah Lawrence College, The New York Times called her a “graduate already in the driver’s seat.” She is a 2022 4Culture grantee, a recipient of the Slants Foundation’s 2020 Countering Hate Award, a 2020 Seattle Mayor’s Arts Award nominee, and a 2018 Citizen University Fellow. Leong is the first in her family to graduate from college. Originally from Honolulu, she lives in Seattle with her wife, son, and their rescue pup, Radley.