The Narco News Bulletin
February 17, 2018 | Issue #67
narconews.com - Reporting on the Drug War and Democracy from Latin America
As a child I often felt the news was often boring and didn't apply to me. I was one of the lucky Salvadoran immigrants in the United States that managed to get a green card at the age of 15, after thirteen years of living in the country, and citizenship shortly before my 25th birthday. I noticed the usage of the words "illegal" and that coverage of Mexicans, Africans, Central-Americans, and all non-Europeans tended to show us all only as criminals-if we were shown at all.
I always knew that something was different, especially when I was a child and my mother and I spent several days every year at the immigration lawyer's office. I had very mixed feelings as a child and I remember that I would always keep journals. This writing helped become a source of healing for me.
For many years I had resented my mother for bringing to a country I could not leave because I didn't have the proper documents for many years. As I got the green card in the mail and had to stop worrying about immigration agents or raids. I became calmer and noticed that my being called "illegal" or perceived as a criminal wasn't my mother's fault.
In college I learned a lot about capitalism, issues of people of color, immigrants and the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. I was an art student and I was interested in exploring issues of social justice for all of us. Most of the classes I took were elitist and mostly tailored toward galleries and concepts that I couldn't understand or relate to, because I had come from a very working-class background.
I first heard of Narco News from a graduate assistant in one of my classes who suggested because of a paper I was working on. This was in 2006 and I have been reading this web site on and off since then. To me, authentic journalism is about finding our own truths and voice, and using them to challenge traditional notions of journalism.
When I received the invitation to attend the School of Authentic Journalism I kept thinking about communities that are marginalized, such as the ones in the state I live in, Mississippi in the USA.
I wanted to find ways to use art as a tool for story telling and organizing people who normally have no one but themselves to fight for any causes that might affect them. I kept thinking of the untold stories in my communities, such a church outside of Jackson, MS which had its first service with black and white attendees sometime in 2012. I kept thinking of the Chinese-American immigrants in the Mississippi Delta, who live in a place where they're not expected to be. Or the Japanese immigrants who live in my town, Tupelo, MS because they lost all of their possessions in Japan and were given various kinds of visas to come work at a local Toyota factory.
Authentic Journalism is about telling stories in a way that moves people to action. Action isn't always manifested in strikes, marches or yelling. It can mean thinking about topics that one has never heard of or thought existed. It can mean reading a story and being inspired to write a song. I know that Authentic Journalism has done this for me.
One of the biggest examples of this was Jose Antonio Vargas' coming out story, in which he, a Pulitzer-prize winning journalist told his story of being undocumented in the USA. He then had to quit his job and became of the most trusted and well-known immigration activists in the country. He also later became my friend. He once read a poem of mine and encouraged me to keep writing my story, to keep wrestling with myself.
I want to attend and succeed at the School of Authentic Journalism because it is a school that to me, is emblematic of a true democratic education. An education in which there are students from all over the world, and in which journalists can challenge a profession that has become a tool for corporations to distort the truth.
This school is for all of us who want to be truthful with ourselves and who want to be responsible storytellers in our communities.
For this reason, I highly encourage that you donate to the Fund for the School of Authentic Journalism today.
You can make a donation right now, online, by clicking this link:
Or you can send a check to:
The Fund for Authentic Journalism
PO Box 1446
Easthampton, MA 01027 USA
Class of 2013
School for Authentic Journalism