I’ve spent most of my life struggling to find my voice and place in this world. Everyday it was a battle for me to just simply share my thoughts. As I grew older, I realized that I suffered from an anxiety disorder that isolated me from every opportunity or experience imagined. I learned to be a great listener and followed the footsteps of people I admired. It wasn’t ideal. I was a follower and not a leader, but I knew I was destined for more.
I began to search for different ways of communicating my ideas that didn’t scare me. I realized that my passion for art could be used as a way to communicate my feelings. Drawing and painting became my escape. Instead of sitting back, watching as my peers were working to change the world, I began to learn how to develop art pieces with deep meanings; meanings that would inspire others and make people recognize the issues in our world. I had developed my passion for storytelling. I had found my voice and I was no longer just a follower; I was a leader.
While interning at VA Productions, a video and event production company, I found joy in bringing people’s stories to life. There is much to celebrate when a beautiful story is crafted into a bite-size piece that the rest of the world can taste. I especially learned this when I was given the opportunity to lead a video project for a local youth-initiative that I had never heard of before.
S.T.A.R, or Stand Together Against Racism, a youth-led initiative created to educate the community about racism and inequality through youth-led discussion, contacted VA Productions about a possible film project. I was so honored to be given the opportunity to lead this project. It was an incredible feeling to know that so many people had faith in my ability to tell people’s stories. Not only was I able to prepare questions, but I was also trusted to make S.T.A.R.’s members feel comfortable while I was conducting the interviews on camera. The biggest challenge I faced was figuring out how to do justice to the stories with a limited amount of time. There was so much to tell.
After completing this project, I felt so connected to S.T.A.R.’s initiative that I knew I couldn’t stop my journey with them there. I wanted to do more. I came up with the idea of making short educational videos about racism and inequality to make education about these topics accessible to everyone. This project is definitely still in the planning phase, but I’m excited for the opportunity to be involved in creating videos that I know will make a difference.
I have found my place in this world. There are many ways of leading and mine is to amplify voices and bring them to viewers. These voices need to be heard, and I am here to do all there is in my power to make them be visible. After all, the only way for us to make a difference is for someone to have the courage and strength to speak out and educate. I am here to support these voices because that’s the only way for us to change and grow as a community.