Team Harmony

CHS student pursues global youth reporter position


Nicole Dawson

Edica Pacha partnered with Womxn of the Mountain to create this mural celebrating indigenous culture

       It’s nine in the morning and I’m crouched in an alley, fiddling with the camera at my feet. With a click of the record button, my interview with photographer and street artist Edica Pacha begins.

       This interview is one of several I have filmed in the past three months working as a global youth reporter for the Team Harmony Foundation, a nonprofit that has partnered with Emerson college to produce a six-part web series titled “Hate: What are YOU going to do?” The series seeks to explore the state of hate worldwide and highlight those who are combating hate in their communities.

       That’s where youth reporters come in. Team Harmony has a group of 93 student reporters from over 35 countries who produce a monthly segment highlighting the fight against hate in their communities. These segments are coupled with interviews of global leaders in the fight for social justice with the intent to educate youth.

       In filming my segments I have met those from all walks of life, forged new connections, and become vastly more involved with my community. I would not trade this experience for anything, but getting to this point was not easy.

       I applied to Team Harmony on a whim. As an aspiring journalist I wanted to reach an audience beyond those who read the school paper, so when the email about Team Harmony popped into my inbox I was thrilled… until I saw the application deadline.

       Two days. Two days to compile a video convincing this global organization that I had what it took to report for them. The prompt for the video itself was fairly open ended. Students were asked to report on an event in their communities that concerned social justice. However, because it was the middle of the week, many social justice rallies were not until the weekend. So, instead of a rally, I opted for reporting on how people maintain their faith in humanity in a world where hate seems increasingly prevalent.

       With a single question scrawled on the back of a napkin I set out for the largest cultural melting pot in my community… the King Soopers parking lot.

       The first man I approached waved me away before I could finish explaining my project. The second woman slammed her door before I could begin. Again and again I was turned down, my search for faith in humanity only giving me less faith in those around me. Moments away from breaking into tears I decided to attempt one more interview before I would allow myself to head home and let go of this foolish dream. Hesitantly, I approached a woman loading groceries into her car.

“What gives you faith in humanity?” I choked out, my voice breaking. She grinned, pausing for a moment.

“The young people do,” she eventually responded. “They have new ideas and ways of doing things, and I like how it’s going.”

       I walked away from that moment as a different person. The woman’s response was a reminder of why I was there, spending my afternoon in the parking lot of a grocery store. I wanted, more than anything, to have the opportunity to share this woman’s story, and the stories of others, with the world.

       Hesitantly, I interviewed another person. Then another. One question. Twenty responses. It was the most terrifying hour of my life.

       Twenty interviews and more rejections than I could possibly count later I drove home to compile the video.

       Two weeks later the acceptance letter came.

       As it turns out, the organization liked my concept of one-question interviews so much they were inspired to create a segment of each episode dedicated to asking those from around the world the same question. Suddenly I was in a position to tell the very stories I so wanted to share with the world.

       I have interviewed students involved with 10 for 10, a youth-led organization affiliated with the BLM movement, a therapist with Resilience 1220, which provides free therapy to youth in the mountain area, and, most recently, a street artist. Each of these people have challenged my worldview, and their stories continue to inspire how I interact with those around me.

       In the next few months I will be highlighting four additional Colorado-based organizations and individuals involved in the fight against hate. Team Harmony’s second webisode airs on Tuesday, November 24th at 5pm MST. You can watch the episode here.

       In a world filled with uncertainty there is something incredibly empowering about sharing the stories of others, and to work with an organization passionate about youth educating other youth has been the most important experience of my life.