Top 5 of 2013: Roberta Rael – Generation Justice

The Amazing Generation Justice Team!!!!!! 2013 blessed us with just such a great team. All of the work, number of productions, trainings, collaborations and success would not be possible without a team that is dedicated to the core values of the project. Everyone brings their best everyday. So to Melissa Harris, George Luna-Peña, Alden Bruce, Rashad Mahmood, Georgia Ruden, Kamaria Umi, Victor Torres, Amy Malick, Evan White and, of course, Pauly Denetclaw and Jason Fuller– from the center of my heart — THANK YOU for making Generation Justice what it is.

Of course, my highlight every year is working along side of the YOUTH from Generation Justice and  2013 has given me  so many moments with roaring laughter, tears of joy, sighs of pride and deep love and admiration. Each of you know who you are…and these moments keep my heart wide open. Thank you!!!!!

Having Jonquilyn Hill come back and work with us this summer was so much fun. Jonquilyn is the first of our alumni who pursued an education in journalism as a result of her high school years with us. She has always been a deep thinker and a joyful presence. To have her spend her transitional time with us between graduating from Howard University in Broadcast Journalism and her current job with NBC was wonderful for all of us. We all love you Jonquilyn and look forward to you coming back to train Generation Justice peeps in the future. Love you Jonquilyn!

Lucia has been involved with Generation Justice since 2005 when it first started and has made so many contributions to the growth and development of the project. Her Social Justice and Spirituality series was so well done and really helped me to think more about my work and my life. I loved having the opportunity to work with Lucia again in media making. We have a great mother/daughter relationship but making media together has always been something that has enriched our lives and our friendship. I deeply admire you Lucia.

Producing the video on youth voice on mental illness has been such a rewarding experience. To build the trust with youth and their families to share personal stories on such an important topic has been work that I will always be proud of. It is so important to have real dialogue about mental illness and the side effects of the stigma, such as bulling, are critical. This is another successful partnership with Everyday Democracy. Thank you to them and to all of the youth and their families for trusting us with your stories.

Everything from conceptualizing to getting it funded to selecting the first year Fellows has been so wonderful. Pauly Denetclaw and Jason Fuller, our first year fellows are both so committed, dedicated, hard working, interesting and appreciative of this opportunity that it is really a blessing to work with them each week. Absolutely the best move ever to develop this fellowship. I am so so happy to have this opportunity to work with Pauly and Jason. Individually they are strong — together they are extraordinary. And a special thanks to the W.K. Kellogg Foundation for making this dream come true!

Victor is such a special person to me personally and has made such a deep contribution to Generation Justices in ways that can not be fully articulated. So to be able to introduce him and present him to a room full of New Mexico youth leaders and youth allies was truly a moment I will never forget. My heart swelled with pride to experience him take the stage and own it. Victor soared as he told his story. I got to watch Victor live out one of his life dreams, to share his experiences and to motivate the rest of us to think higher, do better and be grateful for our lives. Thank You Victor!