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Da'Von Griffin: Transit = Change x Autism

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A young black man wearing a red hooded sweatshirt.
Da'Von Griffin

While others might not understand it, Da’Von Griffin shares how his special interest in Bay Area public transportation has helped him help others.

Have you ever gotten the feeling that you were ignored? Not acknowledged? That nothing unique about you mattered? Well, I have. It’s common amongst many.

In San Francisco comes the most misunderstood transportation system – with tons of criticisms, always taken for granted. In Oakland also comes the most misunderstood person – and also typically hated – born with autism. I wasn’t as capable of learning or understanding my surroundings as well as everybody else. I was quite slow to how things are in life. Everything always felt confusing and impossible to understand, except public transportation. I don’t know why exactly, but if there was anything I could understand as clear as day, it was transit. 

At first, I was just one of many passengers, traveling from West Oakland to Downtown San Francisco. I took the same train every day and took the same bus all the time. Eventually, I was so used to it that I just knew where we would go, how to get there, and more. 

Since then I never knew what to do with this knowledge until someone needed help. I just had the instinct to help people, to tell them how to get there. I was always seen differently, interpreted differently, treated differently. Below many and never seen as anything more. None of my interests was found interesting, only annoying and something people can use to degrade me. I never knew what to do around anyone or anywhere. I was always lost. 


But my knowledge about public transportation helped people in many ways. Nobody helped me when I was lost, but I wanted to be someone to help them when they’re lost – to be a leader. It helped me be who I want to be.

With a Perspective, I’m Da’von Griffin.

Da’Von Griffin is a student at Mission High School in San Francisco. His piece was produced as part of KQED Youth Takeover.

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