By Ted Ravago

When I decided to attend the AAJA virtual fest, I thought I was only going to learn about
people’s work, a few insider tips, and maybe hear about an internship opportunity or two. And
while I did get all of those things, I didn’t expect that this convention would start chipping away at two mental roadblocks preventing me from engaging in my work at 100%.

I am an Asian American, but I am also a queer, nonbinary, Filipino individual. LGBTQ+ elders
told me the professional world may not be kind, and many Asian American spaces I found
myself in showed me first-hand it is not always kind.

I brought these experiences and expectations with me into the AAJA virtual fest and proceeded
with anxiety and fear. AAJA began chipping away those expectations instantaneously when the
discussion of nonbinary stories had come to the spotlight for a short time.

AAJA has also inspired me to start a project I’ve been contemplating. The Complete Guide to
Podcasting Panel showed me how I can do everything required for a podcast at home. A fancy
set-up isn’t something necessary to one’s work. A big company backing isn’t necessary to do
something you love.

The night after the panel, I began research and script writing for my own personal passion
project: a podcast that makes LGBTQ+ history and laws accessible to both my generation and
younger generations.

AAJA has rekindled a fire within me in more ways than one, and for that I am grateful.

Ted Ravago is a junior at New York University, majoring in Journalism and Sociology. Ted attended the AAJA Virtual Fest as a DJNF Emerging Journalist.