A Letter from the Special Issue Editor

It’s 3:00 am and I’m still awake with anxiety. I’ve been piecing together the remnants of a fragmented vision all day, with no will to stop until those pieces create a completed puzzle. What will this journal look like? How will it make readers feel? What will readers get from it? How is it a reflection of the world? My brain continues to churn these questions for a few hours more, until I eventually tire myself and fall asleep. Journals, for me, have always represented a collection of talented individuals that see the world differently. Individuals that want change, whose love for their communities and passions constantly overpowers their thoughts and forces them to act upon them. So it was, and still is, important to me that you take all that you can from this journal, and that this journal leaves your mind pondering and your heart hopeful.

This journal contains the desired futures, unforgettable pasts, and unavoidable realities of artists, educators, practitioners, students, and media makers across the country. It is a diary of experiences and dreams.

For this Special Issue between Youth Media Reporter and The Alliance, all media forms were accepted: audio, photography, essays, lesson plans, videos, fiction, and poetry are all present. And through these forms, a vast array of topics are covered in beautifully different ways, like how music can spark confidence, how African American women need a sanctuary of free expression, how mapping our desired futures can bring communities together. Lesson plans give educators a concrete way to teach students about issues that are never talked about, and audio is used as a gateway to another’s reality.

Through poetry, Ash Phillips builds a future created from people who make our homes, homes where love lasts on and on, quiets our minds, and secures our hearts. Jordan Lee Thompson theorizes how play time can be an educator to young kids. Thompson emphasizes how the imagination is essential to closing the achievement gap and fueling a lifelong excitement in young people to create. In Megan Aubrey’s  beautifully created Mock Identity, she sheds light on the mystical art and culture of Drag. And with photography, Ashley Rodriguez explores identity through the documentation of familial relationships.

Thinking back to when I was a young girl, dreaming up my future and my life beyond elementary school, I always envisioned my life in color. Color gives us life, it gives us joy, it opens our eyes and wakes us up. This was my reasoning for asking Jason Wyman to create pop-art portraits, my personal favorite aspect of this journal, for each of the writers and artists that contributed to this journal. Each headshot is brought to life with each color that is used to re-imagine their faces. And hopefully, they help you to look at each of the contributors as artists and humans, rather than by the title of their occupation.

My team and I put everything into making this journal. It means so much to us have created a work of art that dreams up a future for our world. To me, this journal holds the key to building a brighter future– a future of understanding, empathy, unity regardless of our difference.

This journal is meant to make you think. I urge you to do more research on the topics that capture your attention, let your mind settle on something you’ve never paid attention to. The only way this journal will change your perspective on life is if you open those eyes and let your brain visualize what is being expressed. I promise, it is worth it.


Myah Overstreet

Myah Overstreet was born and raised in Oakland, California, and studies Journalism and English Literature at  San Francisco State University. She has always had a passion for creative arts and the written word. Overstreet worked on school productions at Berkeley High School’s Drama Department, produced short films, and wrote articles published in The Jacket, an independent publication of Berkeley High School students.

Her love for working with nonprofit media arts organizations began during her time as Production Assistant intern at TILT, a project of Ninth Street Independent Film Center in San Francisco, with Jason Wyman. Wyman later introduced Overstreet to The Alliance for Media Arts and Culture, where she accepted the position as Producer of Youth Engagement and Blog Editor for The Alliance’s Youth Media program.