Black Lives Matter: CHANTERA WALTON

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YLI is My Story

Meet CHANTERA WALTON

Calafia Fellow ~ Long Beach, California

Chantera Walton is an 19-year-old Gemini from Long Beach and is the youngest of 3 siblings.

She is currently at Long Beach City College she is a Communications major. She enjoys writing and wanted to be a novelist when she was younger, and then got to high school where she was introduced to Journalism and something just snapped. Her senior year, she became the sports editor of the newspaper at school. That experience taught her that she genuinely prefers to be on the other side of journalism. The deadlines, layouts, dealing with writers and the whole editing process just wasn’t for her. “I think that storytelling and writing in general is important, especially when you think about future generations of people looking back and trying to understand the environment and the culture that came before them,” Chantera says.

Chanera initially wanted to do Journalism but then realized the money was not that great. She now wants to specialize in Human Resources as there are many opportunities to grow as a person! Her goals in life are to not struggle, not worry about money, and to be content in life. She likes to watch Netflix, do yoga, read a little, and spend time with her family. 

Chantera’s Social Justice Tagline:

Chantera does not describe herself as an “activist,” but she wants to see change and be a part of it. “I want to report on happy stories and community stories. News is talking about protests in a negative way. I want to report on it in a different way,” she says.

She got to high school around the same time that Eric Garner was murdered and saw it all over the internet. “After that, it was like every time I opened Twitter or Instagram someone who looked like me was being senselessly murdered by the police,” she says.

It was and is still a traumatic experience for her. “There’s always someone trying to excuse their death by saying ‘Well if they had just listened,’ or ‘They shouldn’t have resisted,’ and ‘That cop was just doing their job’ or something equally insensitive and, honestly, racist.”

With her writing, she wants to change the narrative and language of how Black people are perceived by media outlets, including the use of words like “thugs,” “looting,” and “riots” when media cover Black people and how they use words like “children” or “protests” when talking about White people.

Chantera wants to highlight the stories of Black lives and authentic stories about Black people so that they remove negative biases, stereotypes and prejudice when you hear the word “Black.”

“We are not looking for acceptance from anyone, we just demand justice and equity to create a better future,” she says.

Calafia is yli’s statewide youth policy journal, which amplifies the narratives of young people on topics and issue areas important to them and their communities. Each year, a Calafia Fellow is selected from each of yli’s seven office to identify the issue’s theme and write the stories. Along the way, they are mentored by experienced reporters, travel to statewide and national media conferences, and learn the steps to producing a printed publication. 

Stay tuned for this year’s pub!