Interview with Jadyn Fordah, 16 y/o Creator!

Jadynis a 16 year-old student. She enjoys arts in all forms. Jadynis passionate about her beliefs while open to the beliefs of others. She carries her passions and skills with her each day. Jadyn aims to utilize every opportunity to in order to learn and grow space with the world around her.

Interview by Lois Chan

What is your name, age, interests and anything else you’d like to share about yourself?

My name is Jadyn Fordah. I am 16 and I enjoy creating in all forms. I find myself drawing and practicing guitar regularly, but I am usually open to trying anything that looks like a good time.

Nice to meet you Jadyn! How have you been during quarantine and the events of #BlackLivesMatter?

I’ve had my ups and downs throughout quarantine. As BLM has gained so much momentum during this time, I can’t help but feel gratitude and excitement towards what looks like positive and inclusive reformation. I hold on to this hope as I witness the despair, hardships, and utter violence that has occurred throughout history and continues to this day. Being subject to this exposure is as moving as it is damaging to my mental wellbeing. So as much as I want to move head first into every cause, I want everyone to be aware of their own needs, as well as the needs of the movement, in order to keep the movement alive and flourishing.

For those who may not understand, why do you think it's important to actively support BLM and contribute to making a change?

To me, it all comes down to human rights. Human beings cannot turn a blind eye to what’s happening at this point. The exposure is so present and real, that ignoring the fact that this is an issue alone, does nothing positive. If we dwell in the fact that black lives matter and simply go about our day business as usual, where does change occur? These are issues that cannot remain stagnant. These are issues that our country and society has allowed to flourish. It has been the cause of all of the violence in the past and all of the violence that surrounds us today, and that will continue to surround us. Change is what people of color are begging for and putting their lives at risk for, in order to live peacefully. This is NOT a matter in which anyone can stay silent nor inactive.

What do you think about the role technology has played in making a change, and about those who aren’t using their social media (esp. if they’re still active) to voice out their support on BLM?

In my personal opinion, I feel like if you have a platform and claim to be an activist/ally, you must be doing your part to keep the movement alive. And technology is easy. It is simple when all the education you need is laid out for you; change is as easy as a press of a button. By posting to my story daily, it takes very little time but still has the capability to easily reach hundreds of people on my platform. So if I am not doing that, then I personally don’t feel like I’m doing my part. HOWEVER, we must acknowledge the fluidity of the movement. I know and I have seen people who chose to remain inactive, yet they are active behind the scenes. That can and should be encouraged, all work for the movement is valid and matters. Whether I want to believe it or not, people can support this movement in so many ways and that is good. All help is help, but I find that in doing everything you can, you will speed up and increase awareness and momentum for the movement— so why not do that?

What are your thoughts on ACAB and important points in the debate that people may be overlooking?

ACAB and all other phrases of the movement are symbolic. People can be so quick to glaze over phrases like ACAB and “Defund the police” because they fail to see the meaning and nuances that surround them. ACAB promotes the idea that all cops undoubtedly support a crooked and unjust system. Yet the phrase will turn people off and entice counter arguments like “It’s just a few bad apples”, “Not all cops”, etc. This is frustrating. It feels like you have laid out all the explanations perfectly but they point out ‘flaws’ that, if they had taken the time to educate themselves on in the first place, would be realized as invalid arguments to begin with. I find this as a lack of education among some groups, but taking the time to educate and inform these people is not a lost cause. I have felt strongly in the past that there is no hope for these people. Yet, in doing that, I am only serving to promote a system that deems people as incorrigible, when humans are much more dynamic and have the capability to learn and grow for the better. We simply have to promote that.

We have lived in a society that in the past, dealt with issues with force, violence, incarceration, etc. We have increasing resources and exposure to this. We know this and we must continue to promote a society that is fluid and inclusive in reformation, in order to actually create it.

Have you been to BLM protests in your area? If so, how was your experience?

I have not, but I hope to. My parents and myself have always kept my safety as a #1 priority. I want to feel safe and I want to protest. I should have this ability. The fact that I don’t is another clear reason why I continue to fight for this movement. Even though there haven’t been any big reported violence surrounding protests in my area, the threats from counter-protests have created a great fear within my parents.

What do you think about the discussion regarding protesting, rioting and looting?

I find that if we have grown up in a society and country that has promoted violence as a solution to all problems, this is what was created as an end result. I find the riots and looting wholeheartedly justified. We are angry. We demand justice. This is a matter of human rights and no material possession is more valuable. None.

What do you think about celebrities that have been using their platforms to spread awareness of #BLM, even though they have been previously/now called out for past problematic actions? And those whose support seems performative?

Performative activism is such a dynamic topic that stems from within. When activism doesn’t feel genuine it hurts. Yet, who am I to say if someone is not genuine? I do not know. But as we are recognizing it, I feel like we can create a space for more genuine responses and support. Do I encourage performative activism? No. Do I promote the idea that people who have been performative have the ability to learn and grow with this movement? Yes.

Lastly, as is CTJ’s tradition, what is your advice about life to teens all over the world?

Promote kindness. Promote lives. And we will see a future that includes everyone. But also, take care of yourself. Everything starts with you.

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