The Change I Want to Bring to the World
I envision a bigger and brighter future for us all, not only for those who can afford one or for whom we as a society have deemed deserving of one. I hope my writing will change minds for the better, pushing us toward a happier and more community-centered future that puts people first. Whether it is because they see their story reflected in something I wrote or because my writing gives them a new perspective on things or it informs them of a problem they did not know was happening in the world, I want to make people’s lives easier and more livable.
I am particularly interested in audio journalism and production, and I hope to use that medium to make the world a better place. I envision a world in which authors are paid fairly for their work and are not unjustifiably stripped of creators’ rights to their work. I hope to promote truth over misinformation and to challenge common narratives ingrained in the public mindset.
How I’ve Been Involved in Changemaking So Far
In December of 2019, a sewage flood devastated over three hundred homes in Southeast Queens, including my own. With the approval of the editor of the Queens Daily Eagle, I immediately began writing, listening to residents, taking notes, and snapping photos of the damage done. But what made my story different from those featured in The New York Times or The Daily News is what I uncovered in the 311 call log for my neighboring zip codes. Residents had made hundreds of calls to the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) related to the sewage water, all unanswered.
That simple call log, found on a public database, convinced me that DEP’s telling major news outlets that the sewage flood was due to residents pouring leftover Thanksgiving grease down the drain was a political spin. My story went on to be cited in a city council hearing. It made a difference. From then on, I have known I would like to be a journalist.
Since, I have written an opinion piece for The New York Times about the racism I experienced in my all white high school, interned with Dustlight Productions on their podcast Renegades: Born in the USA, featuring former President Barack Obama and Bruce Springsteen, and worked on a story for WNYC on the impact the gang database continues to have on a former gang member’s life.
What Drew Me to This Fellowship
I have deep respect for the Mentora Foundation’s commitment to “bringing out the best in oneself and others by activating and expressing the Five Core Energies of Purpose, Wisdom, Love, Growth, and Self-Realization in all aspects of their lives.” When I first came across the Mentora Youth Changemaker Fellowship, the holistic, thorough, and comprehensive approach left me in awe because I had never seen a program like this in my life. I hope that through this fellowship (and the accompanying community of young people just as passionate as I am about making a change in the world), I can formulate and integrate innovative ways to make my journalism efforts more in-depth and impactful.