Hello! My name’s Amy, and I’m a class of 2020 graduate of Duke University. I didn't learn about the role of journalism in holding public institutions accountable until college, but something seemed fishy when I got into a conflict with my high school’s journalism sponsor over starting a blog that might reflect poorly on the school. Since then, I’ve become more acutely aware of the ways power and privilege seep through every aspect of our lives, and the material struggles and narratives that are forgotten in the process. My interests lie at the intersection of data and storytelling, as they both have the power to give context and meaning to complex lived experiences. I hope Shift Press can be a space to explore both of these tools.
My name is Andrew Farias and I am a senior at Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota. In transitioning from a public magnet high school to a private college, I found my educational experience to be different from a number of my peers. I attended high school outside of my zoned school district in pursuit of an education that would expose me to careers within the energy, oil, and gas industry. Being the first graduating class, we were the guinea pigs in the foundation of our school, which left much of my learning to be quite unstructured.
This led me to think about the power hierarchy that existed within my educational career, and the lack of student-led input. As a result, I was drawn to spaces on campus and in the community that enabled youth like me to have a greater contribution in the decision-making process, specifically the HISD Student Congress. Here I was able to amplify student voices, which encouraged me to further uplift youth civic engagement with the Institute of Engagement and Shift Press.
Hi, my name is Jalesha Bass, or Jaley for short. The power that I have struggled with the most is white power, especially regarding my postion to whiteness. In elementary school I was bullied by white kids for being black, and adults didn’t believe me because my teachers were racist as well (lowkey). When I got to middle school, I was bullied for being dark skinned. I struggled a lot with recognizing that my appearance wasn't the issue but rather white power that caused people to dislike me and say bad things about me. I am committed to making sure Shift Press is a space for people like me to write and reflect on their struggles with white power.
Okay, so boom, there I was, shouting and aggressively pointing my finger at my university president. He was on a stage in the middle of an interview boasting about the university’s commitment to diversity. Having witnessed and experienced systemic racism on campus, I was infuriated and could no longer be contained by that auditorium chair.
That day, as I loudly called into question the university’s institutional diversity practices, I learned the incredibly riotous power of my own voice. I observed its endlessly unruly and courageous grit take up room where it was otherwise unheard! I want Shift Press to be a platform for frustrated young people to question power. I want this bold project to be a testament to the urgency in and disruptive force of young voices.
My name is Martha Aguirre Rubio. I’m a current student at Dartmouth College. I spent much of my childhood experiencing the impact of power. Power in my eyes, was confined to lawyers, police, and teachers. It wasn’t something they did, instead it was something they inherently had. On any given day, those people were practicing power over others—more specifically, young people. At any given point, adults were negotiating the rules of the spaces that I was in. For a long time, I thought that this was power. It wasn’t until I began my political education, that I realized there were non-hierarchical, and democratic ways to utilize power. Power is something that we all innately have, even when we don’t have the agency to express it. These experiences inform my writing interests which center agency, consent, and the Poor. Shift Press—to me—is a space to reimagine what Houston is and what it could be.
My name is Uyiosa Elegon. I’m a University of Houston Class of 2020 alumni. Growing up, my power playground was at the Meyerland Middle School KickStart Karate room. I brought all of my burdens (family troubles and poor grades) to class. Mrs. Stinson would always channel my energy into kata, sparring, or even tears. As my instructor, she graced me with opportunities to practice and understand agency. I want Shift Press to be a power playground for young homies in Houston to practice agency. I’m excited to see their stories shape all the action in this city.
My name is Zoe Parker. As a child in a military family, I was taught to respect authority growing up. I hardly got in trouble, I didn’t speak unless spoken to, and I always showed the utmost respect for the adults around me. I often imagined how fun high school would be and thought of it as my last chance to be a kid. However, at my high school, there were no sports, a strongly enforced uniform dress code, and a few organized social events throughout the school year. During my sophomore year, I was invited to join the HISD Student Congress and soon came to realize that many of the district-wide issues in HISD involved adults making decisions on behalf of the students without student input. This motivated me to get involved in the organization's initiatives and be more vocal to adults about what I was not okay with. I continue to emphasize and value student involvement in education, especially at Howard where it is a tradition. My experience in public schools compels me to serve other young people who are eager to exercise their full potential as citizens. I am excited to provide unwavering support for the innovative ideas and passions of my fellow youth.