The 14th School of Authentic Journalism 2017

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It is time for me to share with all of you the third most amazing experience I’ve had since I came to Mexico. The first amazing moment I had was when I met Los Otros Dreamers (returnees and deportees), the second best amazing experience was when I received my visa and was able to travel back home and the third is what I am about to tell you…

The first time I read about the School of Authentic Journalism it caught my attention and I immediately felt that it was going to be that special place that I had been searching for the past several years. As always my intuition did not let me down…

The past couple of weeks had been quite hectic and I was anxious to open my closet and jump into this unknown third dimension or should I say this wonderland that I knew would be a watershed in my life. On Tuesday morning I opened the closet door from my room, closed my eyes and jumped into this magical utopia.

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I am walking towards a big wooden gate and as I am about to pull off the handle of my luggage I see the rock with cement ground. I look up and all I see are palm trees, bushes, plants, tons of plants, a lake, a river, huge lands of corn, a lot of bright green grass, the most impressive buildings and what really trapped my attention was a table with some #Mojitos.

We were directed to our dorms, had some mojitos, ate lunch and started to get to know each other. Right after lunch we had our first plenary session which consisted in getting to know more in depth about each scholar, professor and director.

“There are different ways of telling our story, we can share our DREAM story, our ORIGIN story, our ADVERSITY story, our REVELATION story and our CLOSET story”.

I needed to find meaning to everything I was doing, I needed to burst out my essence. This week and what I consider most important  besides the different workshop session about video editing, sound editing, radio, the importance of color balancing, interview tips, photography, writing an article, social media strategies, safety tactics and different methods in approaching certain topics we had the opportunity to learn from each person that participated and their struggles, their movements, their challenges, and their small victories that become big victories.

“Spread out happiness, joy, and humor because these make social movements grow”.

Something else that I also learned at  the School of Authentic Journalism is the importance of being in a magical land with other warriors that fight in different social movements, during this week I was able to take a step back from my own migration struggle and not only listen to others, but also take a step in their own movement. I learned about afro movements in Honduras and in Mexico. I learned about how a brave and talented lady is finding ways to fight for her island, Puerto Rico. I learned from a young lady that is fighting for many women who are sexual workers. I learn what it means to be an authentic journalist in Sinaloa. I learned about many other social movements and civil resistance that other people have been part of over the years. All of our different struggles lack of rights.

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One of the most important reason why I came to the SAJ was because I needed to believe that journalism was part of passion, that the many experiences I’ve had in the previous years did not define it. I needed to believe that there was a way in which a social movement could create their content, that there are journalists that care about their sources, about their coverage and that it is possible to combine social movements with journalism and the outcome of these two combinations result in AUTHENTIC journalist. My passion is not to become just a journalist, but an Authentic one.

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“The School of Authentic Journalism helps us in finding our own voice.” It is a place that brings 40 people together, away from the routine, away from the internet and in a sanctuary these 40 people build the ideal world. These Authentic people gather and discover their superpowers. This sanctuary place renews our hopes, our commitments, gives us strength and includes us in a worldwide community of x-men and x-women. We are not alone in our resistance and in our movement. We defend one another, we pass over our superpowers and as Al said “who ever messes with one of us will mess with all of us.”

Besides the delicious meals, the great people, the mojitos, the swimming pool, the beautiful nature, the mojitos and the mojitos I must also take a few lines to thank the directors who devote and work very hard. It is a truly honor to know three amazing warriors that not only believe in this school but also put their entire heart in it.

All my admiration and gratitude to everyone, and to the three amazing directors. I resume everything I learned in five words: Humor, unity, love, fun and mojitos.

#SoySAJ

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