Three years ago, I was a scrawny, disabled, 8th grader who was always envious of my artistic family. Art runs in my blood, like a torch passed down my family tree, and I always felt like it wasn’t given to me. That was until I stumbled upon BAVC Media, a community of activists who make social change through their art.
After applying to the Next Gen Program, I embarked on a journey I didn’t realize would change my life. I found BAVC Media through my older sister’s friend. She had this awesome blue hair and glasses, and knowing her felt like knowing an idol. She told me about the program, I was obsessed, and dedicated to applying when I was old enough. The year before I started, my sister applied, looking for a new medium to explore. It felt special that I got to experience the program and grow with her before embarking on my own journey.
Before my journey with BAVC Media, I had no clue what social justice was or how important it is to society. I didn’t realize that I had a real voice, one that is powerful and should be shared. I didn’t even understand the beautiful power of film and how it can influence people.
BAVC Media pushed me to explore other forms of creativity that do not require physical exertion, for example, writing. I joined a disabled, female writing collective for young girls. This was a platform that helped me meet new people that are apart of the same communities as me. I was very nervous for applying to this program, mostly because I have never thought that I was a strong writer, but BAVC Media has taught me to challenge myself and help me strengthen my self esteem.
Last year, I wrote, directed, edited and starred in a film, The Seated Siren, that was based on my experiences as a disabled young woman. This project was the most courageous thing I have ever done. Not only because it tested my skills and endurance as a media maker but because it made me very vulnerable. This film was fictional, the character I played wasn’t me, but we shared the same feelings and struggles as disabled teens. I am so proud of that film, and I wouldn’t have had that opportunity without BAVC Media.
If you were to ask me now who I am, I would say that I am a disabled filmmaker whose art revolves around social justice and giving a voice to communities who have been marginalized. This is who I am, and I wouldn’t be this person without my experience with BAVC Media. Without BAVC Media, I wouldn’t be me.