I joined the team at The Indypendent in January 2018. It was the only newspaper in New York City that agreed to take me on when I decided to pursue a career in journalism. I had a degree in film, understood the dynamics of storytelling, and had a background in documentary photography, all of which gave me zero leverage in accessing jobs at media outlets focused on generating clicks for profit.
John Tarleton and Peter Rugh, The Indy’s senior editors, gave me my first bylines and helped me get my foot in the door. I learned journalism on assignment, gained access to the people-led movements and radically progressive voices that served as a springboard to launch me into the broader world of reporting.
One of the first stories I covered for The Indy was a massive march led through midtown by NYC Shut It Down in the wake of the Stephon Clark shooting in Sacramento. Roughly a dozen protesters were arrested. I saw first-hand how the New York Police Department worked to silence activists demanding change.
I followed Jericho walks led by the New Sanctuary Coalition outside of ICE headquarters. I was sent to cover the 2018 Women’s March, May Day demonstrations, the International Women’s Strike, protests against the nomination of future Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh and mass demonstrations against the Trump administration’s anti-immigrant policies and rhetoric.
I gained access to people-led movements and radically progressive voices that served as a springboard into the broader world of reporting.
We covered the extraordinarily successful effort to keep Amazon out of Queens. I was able to contribute to The Indy’s coverage of Alexandria Ocasio Cortez’s historic Congressional campaign, as well as Julia Salazar’s successful run for the New York State Senate long before the corporate media picked up on those stories.
The paper allowed me to pursue pieces that likely would not have been published elsewhere, like coverage of NYC for Abortion Rights, a radical reproductive justice coalition that organizes clinic defense at locations under attack by anti-abortion zealots.
One day, John sent me to cover the stories of displaced Puerto Ricans who had relocated to New York and were in danger of losing FEMA aid that was keeping families housed in local hotels. This ultimately took me to Puerto Rico, where I started an independent reporting project called People Live Here in solidarity with the island’s anti-colonial movements.
In October, I moved to South Texas and joined the staff of the Brownsville Herald where I have documented the locally-led humanitarian efforts to aid asylum seekers stuck in Mexico due to the Trump administration’s Migrant Protection Protocols. The journey is just beginning, and none of it would have been possible if I had never been invited to my first Indy editorial meeting.
The Indy has given me access to networks of activists across the country and around the world. Its staff took me on and gave me the tools and feedback I needed to pursue real journalism. The Indy is a rare coalition of radical voices in a beleaguered industry.
It is integral to support independent journalism and keep platforms like this alive. The paper will continue to foster young journalists intent on shifting media narratives locally, nationally and across the world.