Students Share Personal Stories about Election Issues

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Three young media producers from BAVC's Emerging Media Makers had a tough assignment: to make short personal videos about election issues that matter to them. Lovina Okoronkwo, Rigo Valadez-Bigler and Alexis Hernandez are all part of a recent cohort to earn certificates in video post-production from BAVC's program to support youth ages 17-24 who face barriers to employment. Students are dealing with issues such as homelessness, involvement with the criminal justice system, parenthood, emancipation from foster care, learning English, and other challenges. The program provides training and media industry exposure through paid internships and career counseling.

KQED was fortunate to have these students produce videos to support the Letters to the Next President 2.0 initiative, specifically our first Media Make: #WhatsMyIssue videos. Check out their powerful videos below, and learn more about their experience producing the work.

LOVINA: Racism

I chose this story because I feel like racism plays a big part in society. I also wanted to let people know they they aren't alone. My biggest challenge with making my video was trying to figure out how to make my audience understand how it feels to be racially profiled. I really want to make a change, and I also want to to let people know that it isn't okay to judge people by the color of their skin or how they look. I wan't people to know how much it hurts to be looked at differently just because of your ethnicity.

RIGO: Harry's Letter


The topic of my uncle's health is very important to me because his death was very sudden and I've become more knowledgable about drug user health care since he died. I thought he should have his story told. My biggest issue was focusing my story. I started out wanting to tell a general story about drug users struggles with health care, but ended up narrowing it down to the story of my uncle. Then, while editing, my first cut was about twice as long as the final cut, because I had so much I wanted to say about my uncle. But I knew I needed too cut it down so that it would fit the format better. If it's too long, no-one would want to watch the whole thing, and that's what was really important. I hope to shine a light on the struggles drug users face with getting healthcare that they desperately need. People die because drug use is stigmatized; the fact that drug use is seen as a disease needs to stop so that people can get treated for the actual diseases and health problems they have.

ALEX: Military

What inspired me to do this video about a veteran's experience in the war was my own past. There was a point in my life were I thought the Army was a great choice for me. I was lucky to meet my teacher Eddie Falcon, who was an Air Force veteran. I was shocked to hear about his experience in the Army. I felt his voice needed to be heard. The biggest challenge for doing this video was finding Eddie. I haven't seen him in a very long while. I looked everywhere. It took me a while to find him but it was well worth it. By watching my video, I hope people have a better understanding about what veterans go through during war, and the aftermath of the war.