Areyana Janae-Andrea Proctor, a second year Journalism student at the University of Colorado Boulder, is a storyteller and change-maker who is passionate about racial justice, equity and criminal justice reform. As a member of the INVST Community Studies and Multicultural Leadership Scholars programs, Areyana engages in rigorous research on the structural causes of racial inequality, carceral system, and educational inequality. An accomplished film-maker, she is interning with Motus Theater and the Boulder International Film Festival to further develop her abilities to use arts as a vehicle for communicating to a broad public about how to make skillful, strategic, and positive social change.
As I have grown up in this damaged society, I have witnessed first-hand the impacts of underfunded schools, homelessness, and gang-ridden neighborhoods. I have also seen that we can emancipate ourselves from dire situations. I have always loved storytelling which I want to incorporate into social justice work. As I learn more about the history of human beings, I want to find ways to help create change using stories which are an under-utilized facet of activism. While within INVST and Multicultural Leadership Scholars, I have applied what I am learning in these programs to real-world opportunities. For example, with Motus Theater, I had the opportunity to speak with formerly incarcerated activists, then create a film, “Not A Victim,” about modern-day slavery. My own school, CU, buys furniture made by inmates. I shared this fact with my classmates, and Motus shared my film with their networks, opening up dialogue. I will continue using storytelling to fix problems. I plan to conduct research and tell moving stories. I want to use my connections, whether with my classmates or activists within my community, to make dreams a reality. I am motivated to see an improved society where we can all thrive.