By Claudia Sanchez-Jean
When creating this piece, I wanted to embrace a little piece of cultural diversity in the U.S., but also show that historically, diversity hasn’t been welcome here. The piece is a reminder that just because we get along better now, there are still societal problems that aren’t solved.
I researched three people: an African American woman, a Caribbean American woman, and a Native American man, and told their stories, highlighting the irony of how they were treated given their accomplishments. I then made an interactive collage telling their stories, and videoed it with the subjects narrating. I had to film it twice, because the first time, it looked poorly made, and I had to put more time in to get it right.
Meet the Pair
MENTEE CLAUDIA SANCHEZ-JEAN & MENTOR SARAH GRUEN
Claudia’s Anecdote: Sarah is a lot of things: giving, understanding, uplifting, and good at making banana bread. Every time we meet she becomes more and more relatable and pertinent to my everyday life. She was a break in my schedule that I very much needed. It’s not that she only edited my work and told me what to fix but she showed me my strengths that I did not see and improved my expression more than my words.
Sarah’s Anecdote: Not many sixteen-year-olds would spend their Saturday evening accompanying their far less cool twenty-five-year-old friend to see Little Women. Even fewer would join said friend in crying through the whole movie. And fewer still would openly and proudly admit to doing so. Then again, Claudia isn’t your average sixteen-year-old. An immensely talented artist (and little sister), Claudia proudly declared herself an Amy. But the truth is, I see something of each of the Little Women in Claudia: Along with Amy’s ambition and skill, she has Meg’s kindness and Beth’s compassion, plus a whole lot of Jo March–esque humor, drive, creativity, and, of course, writing prowess. Look out world: With her art, her stories, and everything else she does, this (not so little) woman is going to make history.
Claudia Sanchez-Jean is a class of 2020 Girls Write Now mentee based in Bronx, NY.