Los Angeles — Dillon Bernard is changing the way we view advocacy through innovative digital storytelling one day at a time.
The 23-year-old Brooklyn, New York native found a creative way to combine his passion for digital media and storytelling to help make change in society and has been working to motivate other youth to do the same. Due to growing up in the age of digital media, the internet and social media, this type of work was always something that interested him, however he saw gaps when it came to storytelling.
“My role in digital storytelling has really been like, how do you meet people where they are and how do we add them into the conversation that they would be having or are having just maybe not on digital because there's limited spaces for those nuanced conversations,” said Bernard.
He decided to take it into his own hands, and launched “Create for Change” a hub for other creatives like himself who are ready to do the work and reimagine what activism looks like.“We are artistic activists, culture creators, community designers, movement catalysts, and narrative architects.” according to the website.
“The concept here is that anybody can join our community by going on a website and that we're actively sending resources and opportunities for folks to engage with nonprofits and movements. And I think our goal is to create this network of hundreds of young creatives,” he said.
While advocacy may look like someone behind a bullhorn or someone carrying signs, Bernard knew that route wasn’t for him but he didn't want to sit around while people were fighting. In 2019 he started his journey in media coordination for social movements, and that is where he realized just how important this type of work is. He explained that he found and understood “the power that storytelling and digital media has in mobilizing people.”
He also leads “Team DB,” founded in 2021, which is a website where organizations and organizers can reach out to receive several digital services such as creative project management, communication strategy, creative direction and more. With the work that is being done, over 1.5 million people have become aware of topics such as climate change, mental health, community safety, voting rights, civic engagement and more.
“I think my main thing has always been the power to amplify other people's stories. That's what got me up in the morning,” he said.
Bernard has led multiple campaigns to help get youth voices heard. One of many would be “Young People Address the Nation” which was a response to President Joe Biden’s State of the Union. The initiative and platform allows youth leaders to voice their concerns about the state of the nation around issues such as police brutality, global warming, poverty and so much more.
He has created an online community for other multicultural youth change makers around the nation to help tell stories how they want, ultimately with a goal to empower them and their direct network online. By allowing the youth to tell their own stories, it ensures that their voices are being heard when it comes to societal issues that has a direct impact on them
Ariyana Griffin is a graduate student at Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland. She is a California native and graduate of Clark Atlanta University. Follow her on Twitter: @Ariyanaaganee and Instagram: @ari.yana.g.
Edited by Nykeya Woods