I’m in my mid twenties. For the first time in my life, I’ve finally got a salary, health insurance and a fancy title. But I took my time getting here.
After my high school graduation, I worked for years in food service — sometimes two or three jobs. During that time, it felt like I was behind my old classmates who were already working to get their degrees. But I needed time to grow — to figure out who I was and where I wanted to be.
When I finally felt ready, I enrolled in community college. It was there I fell in love with print and broadcast journalism. I learned to write, film, photograph and edit stories from professors of color who advocated for me and gave me the agency to cover what I cared about.
And after earning my associates degree, I transferred to a university, confident in my decision to pursue journalism as my major.
While at San Francisco State, I met even more people who provide opportunities for marginalized folks in journalism. These mentors taught me technical skills I needed and how to stand up for myself and other queer and trans Black, Indigenous and people of color in the workplace.
During all those years of school, I continued to work part time. I had to deal with egotistical chefs and managers, verbally abusive customers, and a culture of coping with drinking and drugs.
So after being laid off at the beginning of the pandemic, I promised to put my mental and physical health first and not work in kitchens anymore.
It’s terrifying being a young adult trying to support yourself in this economy, during a global pandemic and ecological catastrophe. That’s what makes it so important to hold the door open for other marginalized folks.
I wouldn’t be here without the people who believed in me and guided me to where I am today. Now working at YR Media, I feel honored to continue the work to carve space for new perspectives, new voices, new futures.