I was on my last day of interviews in New Orleans. I was exhausted, frustrated and ready to go back to San Antonio. I had agreed to interview Black teens on their language and dialects and I was currently on my 30th interview. My co-interviewer and I had reached a standstill in interviews; we had been to every university campus, community center, and library we could find. But it was the summer, students were at the pool – not in class. A lone administrator on a desolate campus suggested we head to the YMCA up the street and we decided this would be our last attempt of the trip. While riding in the uber my colleague looked at me with tired eyes saying, “Maybe we should just go home.” I was also exhausted and irritated with our circumstances, (Did my professor forget there are significantly less students around in the summertime?) but I wanted to get as close to the 60 interviews my professor needed as possible. “Let’s just do one more – then we can stop. I’ll even buy us Poboys.”
We entered the YMCA and were warmly greeted by a Black woman with a crisp dress and big hair. After a short conversation, she escorted us upstairs where the teens were. We walked into an empty classroom and started setting up. I began to hear this voice behind me getting louder and louder until I turned and heard, “What y’all doing?” There was a group of Black kids in front of me (all with bright eyes and cute hairstyles). Right in the middle there stood a Black girl with a big afro asking me questions at a mile a minute.
“Where y’all from? Why y’all asking us questions? Can you help me prove my teacher is transphobic? You want to read my writing?”
By the end of the day we had exchanged contact info, our writings, and I told her I would keep up with her. Three years later our inaugural Ambassador has continued to be a spark to the world, questioning the world around her, and asking for more from the adults around her.
#CRC: Why did you get involved with #CRC?
Shymrri: The reason I first got involved with #crc was because it was a combination of things I feel I am passionate about. From advocacy, to simply writing about my day and life. I believe that #crc will leave an impact and I want to be a part of that.
The #CRCAmbassadors program began September 1st, 2020 during the COVID – 19 pandemic in an effort to highlight BIPOC, Queer and Trans Youth stories. Shymrrri started with blogging for #CRC about the way she saw the world. She asked our readers to take time to find “their thing.” She continued to give us a piece of what Black teen girls have against them during her COVID Thoughts Series. So far, Shymrri has had to remain focused on her schooling,sports, acting, books (yes she also writes books), social life, and work. There are few obstacles that stand in Shymrri’s path and she is determined to continue to pave the way for future #CRCAmbassadors as well.
#CRC: What does it mean to you to be a #CRCAMBASSADOR?
Shymrri: Being a #crcambassador to me means being a part of something bigger than myself and my own personal advocacy. It means that I’ll rep #crc in the media and on the streets.
This year, Shymrri takes on her last year of high school. She is determined to spread the reach of #CRCAmbassadors, lead conversations, start projects, and continue to write in – between. This past month, she moderated an IG Live conversation with co-founder Taylor Waits, “Is College Really Necessary?” She called for teachers to “get real” with students in America. Tell the truth about the student loan crisis, about rape culture on campuses, about how so many folks work outside of their major. In summary Shymrri wants what most youth do: the truth. Our community came through in the comments making sure to engage with Shymrri and I’s questions. Phrases like White normativity, dropouts, independence, and agency popped up in our chat. People began to identify with Shymrri’s feelings of being lied to or misled by teachers. The convo was juicy to say the least. And that’s just the start.
#CRC: What are you most looking forward to this year as an ambassador?
Shymrri: What I’m looking forward to this year is to watch the program grow and 21-22 graduate highschool so that I can have a more active role in the program.
This year we are starting Shymrri off with a #StarterKit meant to amplify her perspectives, futures, and desires surrounding rape culture. With COVID-19 guidelines helping spark digital stories of change in our community, it was about time that #CRCAmbassadors went digital! Shymrri will be focusing on creating content for our #CRC Youtube, Instagram, and TikTok pages. Sneak peeks at a day in a young actress’ life, conversations, reviews, chile she continues to do it all! In order to start this venture we are asking the community to support us in providing her with a sufficient starter kit.
This starter kit includes:
Studio Set Up Materials (Lights, Backdrops, Mics)
Camera and Tripod
Computer Programs (Adobe Suite, Film Editing Software)
Please share with your community! We are hoping to raise these funds by the beginning of September and get Shymrri started on her way to success!
Shymrri has always been one to ask the hard hitting questions. We wouldn’t have met if she didn’t have the courage to question her world around her. Shymrri is #changerapeculture personified.
#CRC: What do you envision as the future for #CRCAMBASSADORS?
Shymrri: For the future I believe that I shouldn’t get too comfortable alone here. That others will join us and support us. The ambassadors will make a difference in the #crc project.