This summer, I had the honor to be part of Latino Rebels as a correspondent. It was indeed an amazing opportunity. I got to hear and meet so many inspiring voices from across the country. I was able to cover stories I would have not been able to do in a traditional news media organization. LR showed me new ways of doing journalism—journalism by and for the community.
I never doubted that this was going to be a unique experience. But I have to say that I never expected it to be so rewarding. Every day, I met inspiring people from different backgrounds whose voices we must pay attention to. LR pushed me closer to my community. I got closer in a way I did not think was possible.
I met Edgar Reyes, who turned his sueños into art, Latina teens in Texas who were not afraid to fight for their rights and community leaders from across the country who are working tirelessly to protect families from ICE. I witnessed families suffering injustices, like the Lopez family in Mississippi. I met musicians like LADAMA, Chulita Vinyl Club and Bomba Estéreo, whose music is pushing the boundaries. I got published by The Independent and even made an appearance on Colombian radio. I wrote close to 50 pieces for LR in a span of three months. My professional portfolio is off to a strong start.
I feel confident and ready to face the challenges of the media industry. As you all have noticed already, LR is not your conventional site. The voices at LR are the voices of the community. It is all of us who tell our own stories. And what a better way to do journalism than through our own voices.
And through that journey of listening to all of your voices, Latino Rebels helped me find value in my own voice. It taught me to be pure, original and true.
I would like to thank Julito, who trusted me from the beginning, believed in my talents as a journalist and encouraged me to be a better journalist. But especially, I want to thank each of you who were part of my stories, who took the time to read my pieces and share with others. This is the beginning of a long challenging but fulfilling career.
PS If you are interested in contributing to Latino Rebels, email them here.
María Camila Montañez is a journalism student at CUNY Graduate School of Journalism’s Spanish-language program. She is originally from Colombia and tweets from @mariacmontanez.
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