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When I was living in Albuquerque I ran into a brick wall of sorts. I had just finished my Associates degree in Liberal Arts and I was trying to transfer into the local university to restart my bachelor’s degree. But the university wouldn’t let me in. They claimed I didn’t do enough to up my gpa. I had failed from there (twice) and they thought I didn’t make their standards.
I was stuck. I re-enrolled in the community college to bide my time. I went from being Editor-In-Chief of the school’s newspaper back to being a Staff Reporter again (my term was up at the end of the summer). Not that I didn’t mind it. It allowed me to focus on individual stories that fall. And I found a story that would give me hope again. Hope in myself, hope in my education, hope for creating a peaceful humanity. Let me explain.
I was living in a little hole-in-a-wall Albuquerque apartment and i woke up to a message on my phone. A friend of mine lost her fiance to a stray bullet and it was misreported by the local media. While she was reaching out for guidance and warmth, I felt compelled to do something about. So i wrote a story.
And after the story we went around to local media outlets trying to right the wrong. Do a second story. They did.
And while that brought a little bit of light to the person and to the case, it didn’t do much to help the people left in the aftermath. We had to do something to tend to the needs of the grieving. The silent masses.
So we took to Facebook. We created a page:
The basic premise of RHV was (and has been) to allow the families of the grieving a place to bond and talk about their loved ones, how they are dealing in the aftermath of their own personal tragedies.
So we give them that place. We create various quote memes, post pictures of people and even feature a memorial wall as our cover photo.
The reason I stayed in Albuquerque as long as I did was to help develop this. We wanted to do a memorial/community awareness event. We wanted to tell the stories of the people of our site in public. And we did.
We held an outdoor event on July 29, 2012 at a local Albuquerque park. We featured speakers from families and victim advocates and It was featured on two of the three local networks that night (the third missed the time but wanted to cover it). For everything considered, it was a success.
The extra seven months in Albuquerque spent working on this was one of the most fulfilling time periods in my life because it allowed me the opportunity to tell people’s stories. To learn why telling the stories of people correctly and fully is of the utmost importance. That gave me hope again. Knowing that I was able to provide a bit of solace to people was so crucial in developing my confidence as a writer.
I was devoid of hope and meaning at the end of the previous summer. That year, spent giving myself to other people – often at the questioning of others, established a new sensibility in me. It showed me that I could be an advocate, a writer and a social media manager. It gave me purpose and showed me that I can go past the limits I sometimes impose upon myself.
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