"Last year, I was asked to be the stylist for a Teen Vogue shoot with the original troop. I met the leader Giselle, her daughters, and the other girls, and I was so inspired by their stories. I offered to help in any way that I could."
"I have always been motivated by women and underrepresented minorities and fixing the misrepresentations that are in the media. This was the perfect nexus of all of my interests — economic, racial, and gender. Sometimes, it's hard to find something that actually aligns with your values. This was a great opportunity that felt authentic."
"It's mostly art related. We try to plan interesting educational field trips and think of meaningful ways that we can engage with them to inject stability in their otherwise chaotic lifestyle. They crave stability — and the attention and admiration of adults who look like them and respect them. We don't treat them differently."
I hope to teach the girls how to be leaders and give them the confidence to assert themselves.
"I hope to teach the girls how to be leaders and give them the confidence to assert themselves. It's important for me to drill into them that their perspectives matter — and that it's something that no one can take away. Despite whatever is going on around you, that's something you can always control."
"Being a freelancer now, I'm able to buffer in time for it. I schedule jobs around it, because it's so important that the girls have regular stability."
"It's as simple as the hugs I get from the girls every week."
"It first started as a SoundCould project — I was doing spoken word. But I found that it was a bit of a challenge to reach people that way. You really have to force them to listen. However, if you see a poster on the street, you can't really ignore it. I realized that if I put everything on paper and literally plastered posters all over the streets, people would pay attention, one way or another."
"It's been amazing. People send me photos they've taken by my posters all the time, where they're smiling really big, which I love. Just recently a woman sent me a picture of her little girl next to one of my pieces. At the end of the day, that's truly the reason I'm doing this. I'm a firm believer that if kids can't see it, they don't know they can be it."
"Little girls, older girls, people in general — I want them to look at my art and realize that even though walking around in a universe where they may not necessarily see themselves in everything, it's still for her."
I think people get caught up in what it means to give back. It doesn't have to be huge. Just being kind works.
"I do. The whole point of my work is for it to be accessible, so I also put a lot of the posters online for free. People print them out and use them as protest signs or take them to their own streets, all over the country. I have educators email me and tell me that they put them up in their classrooms, which is so cool."
"There's more to what I do than just putting posters up. I teach workshops. I teach kids how to wheat paste so that they can go out and make their own content. It's really important for me to pass down the tools that I've learned."
"I think you have to look around and understand what table you're sitting at. Everyone's experiences and resources and privileges are different — maybe what you can do, I can't do. So I'd encourage people to look in their backyard, see what they can offer, and extend a hand. It's easier than you may realize. You don't have to be curing diseases. I think people get caught up in what it means to give back. It doesn't have to be huge. Just being kind works."
"I am a Puerto Rican from Brooklyn. I grew up in a spiritual family, in the sense that bruja and energy work were big things and very present. Mental health, however, and addressing it, weren't. Growing up in the hood, it's one of those things that you realize no one talked about. It's almost like there was no time for that. So, as someone that deals with my own battles, mental health wise, I didn't have anybody to talk to. There was no one in my community that could understand what I was going through."
"Exactly. I got tired of being the depressed kid that no one understood, so I decided to start talking about mental health."
"I took to social media. I began making videos that were 60 seconds or less, covering different things related to mental health — like anxiety and depression. I started to build an audience and establish a space to talk about these things, because I wanted people like me to know that there is someone out there that sounds like them that can relate to these things, too."
I am trying to be that voice that I didn't hear growing up — and show people that we all have a place in the world.
"I am trying to be that voice that I didn't hear growing up — and show people that we all have a place in the world. If I can be taken seriously in the spiritual world and in the mental health world, then there's no reason that anyone from any background shouldn't be able to be taken seriously, in whatever field it is they're in."
"Because I have a strong accent and I don't have a degree, I was told over and over that I wasn't going to be able to do the work that I'm doing and no one was ever going to take me seriously. I want other women to know that being yourself is not going to damage your cause, your brand. That includes doing things your way. You don't have to follow the rules every time. The rules weren't made for everybody. We're not all the same people. I hope that my work inspires other women to know they they can be real, they can be themselves, and there's nothing wrong with that."
"It feels incredible and it's very fulfilling, but it's also a very big responsibility. I am mindful that it's something to be responsible with. I am inspiring and helping so many people, and while that's amazing and I'm allowed to be flawed and to be human, I also have to be ethical. It's a bit of pressure. It feels especially good, because it feels like I haven't found my place in the world but that I actually made it. It believe it's better that way."