When the 2016 U.S. presidential election took place, the outcome hit close to home. I was twelve at the time, and the junior high school I attended was mostly made up of immigrants from Central America, many of whom were the kids of undocumented immigrants. There was this sense that what was happening in our government was impacting us all in a very big way. Thus, all we could talk about was the news and politics.
However, I quickly noticed that none of us were actually reading or watching the news. The news is primarily written by and geared toward an older demographic, and unfortunately, it wasn’t connecting to my peers. I saw this as a huge problem for a variety of reasons. Every day, something goes on in the world that affects countless lives, and if we aren’t informed about these events, then we lack the power to help those who were affected. Since young people didn’t have a news source designed for us, we didn’t have the tools we needed to make a difference.
That’s why, in February 2017, I decided to create the solution: The Cramm. Each day, I wake up at 5am to read the news, curate relevant stories, and rewrite them in a way that relates and connects to Generation Z. Then, I send this out in a 5-minute email, text message, Instagram story, video, or podcast. I write The Cramm exactly how I talk to my friends, so it truly speaks to my age group.
But this story isn’t about me. It’s about the countless young people who took it upon themselves to get involved with The Cramm — something that I never in my wildest dreams imagined would happen.
When I created The Cramm, I was painfully shy and socially anxious. I didn’t tell even my closest friends about it for the first few months after it launched. In fact, they didn’t find out about it until my parents mentioned it in their speeches at my Bat Mitzvah.
Immediately, my friends signed up and asked how they could help out. I was taken aback; I felt honored and grateful beyond words. Soon enough, a group of friends and I came up with a plan to go to a local university with clipboards, tell students about The Cramm, and write down their emails so they could subscribe. It was hugely successful.
Not long after that, I got an email from a teenager in the U.K. She loved The Cramm and wanted to know how she could get involved. Again, I was deeply moved by her message. I couldn’t believe that this organization I had started all on my own had now prompted such an incredible response.
That email was one of many I received over the coming years. Young people from every corner of the Earth (France, Fiji, Canada, Zambia, the U.S., Singapore — you name it) told me about how The Cramm had become a fixture in their lives. They believed in its message — you can’t change the world unless you know about — and its goal — educate to activate — just as strongly as I do, and they wanted to support it in whatever ways they could. This response inspired me to create The Cramm’s ambassador program, The Cramm Fam, of which there are now nearly five hundred members.
Without The Cramm Fam, The Cramm would undoubtedly not be where it is today. The Cramm Fam is the reason why we now have daily IGTV videos and a podcast read in multiple languages — further expanding our accessibility and our impact. The Cramm Fam is the reason why we have a recap of the week’s news on our Instagram each weekend. They’re the reason why we are able to feature so many inspiring young people in our newsletters, and they’re the reason why we’re able to hold Cramm Days in cities all over the world. They work tirelessly to make the news digestible and engaging for Gen Zers, whether it’s researching stories, doing graphic design work, or spreading the word about The Cramm to their friends.
I’m honored to say that The Cramm now has 2.5 million monthly newsletter views — a feat that would surely not be possible without the extraordinary help of The Cramm Fam. We’ve had readers get involved with marches and protests, start their own organizations and clubs, and exercise their right to vote. The Cramm has had the desired impact — creating activists out of this generation – and I owe it all to The Cramm Fam.