Suzanne Li Puma
For twenty years, Breakthrough has harnessed media and popular culture to spark conversations and cultural transformation at the intersection of gender, sexuality, racial justice, and immigrant rights. Through nuanced, authentic storytelling, the organization uplifts the voices and experiences of marginalized people, to challenge systemic barriers and build their cultural power. The building blocks of Breakthrough’s campaigns are the instruments of pop culture: social media, music videos, video games, comedy shows, podcasts, documentary films, narrative fiction, and more. Using these mediums, the organization reaches audiences at scale, inspiring people to empathize and take action in support of a fairer and safer world, free of violence and discrimination—especially the forms that disproportionately harm women, girls, and people of color. The Leading Edge Fellow at Breakthrough will take a leading role in scaling a project that is at the center of its current work: Our Stories: In Vivid Color. A multimedia initiative, Our Stories amplifies the first-person narratives of girls and gender non-conforming (GNC) youth of color, ages 14-24, across the United States and Puerto Rico. It explores their lived experiences, creative and activist projects, and dreams—namely, of what a more liberated future would look like, for themselves and their communities. The project will be disseminated via digital and social media, and will hopefully be streamed on a major platform like Netflix or Amazon, to reach a mass audience. The Leading Edge Fellow will also lead a research project on these and related topics, which will include a landscape review, primary data collection, and qualitative analysis.