In this next addition to our World Food Week blog series on key people in the field tackling hunger, we talked with Tekiah Jones, a 17-year-old High School Student from Washington DC. She works as the New Media Producer on a campaign called Revolution Hunger. Link Media is working in partnership with Revolution Hunger to engage teens and their communities around hunger and malnutirition at home and around the world. Continue to visit our food page for "Hungry Planet" airtimes, to watch programs online, and to find out what you can do.
Hi Tekiah, thanks for being a part of this interview! First and foremost, how did you first learn about this issue of hunger?
It was actually through Revolution Hunger. I had seen the position online from a friend, so I applied for it, but I didn't know much about hunger. I remember seeing commercials with children in Africa with flies on their face, but that's all. I didn’t know much about it, and didn't learn about it until I joined the campaign.
You are a part of this campaign, Revolution Hunger. Can you tell me a bit about it?
Revolution Hunger is a campaign that is trying to get more teens involved in bringing awareness about world hunger, and hunger here at home. We are really dedicated to trying to get people involved and dedicating their future careers to helping to solve it.
What is your role in the campaign?
My role as New Media Producer is to really expand out the mission and vision of Revolution Hunger, (we in the DC area -- District of Columbia, Virginia, Marylan) -- and to reach teens in schools, and in our community using new media and online tools. We are using social media to get the word out, especially because that's where young people are at. I also work with the Regional Coordinator and we do some outreach projects together, like organizing a youth team in DC, attending events, and doing in school presentations. I write blogs and do things that are online, to really reach out to people and show them what we’re doing, though the new media age.
How do you think new media can impact and engage teens in learning about this issue?
To me, all teens are on their phones and the computer at some point in the day. All of our networks are on the new Android or EVO, and people are on Twitter or Facebook, so the best way to really get to teens is to blog and Tweet and get on their Tumblr accounts. I think that when you use something that teens go to every day, that's what will maximize our impact. When the Tsunamis hit a couple years ago, people weren't talking about Twitter, but people on Twitter were the first to talk about it. I think New Media can take organizing to a new age, and it already is. It's so much more accessible to click on a link. It helps teens get more involved, and allows them to learn about something new. Even in our school, we don't hand in paper assignments, we send them online. With so much online, you don't have an excuse not to be involved. With Revolution Hunger, we are trying to get kids engaged both online and then to get off their computers and go do something positive.
How can teens get involved?
Go to revolutionhunger.org and create an account! Teens can start educating people about hunger, blogging about it themselves, and make it a trending topic. When you start getting into it it, really consumes you. When you know that every 3.6 seconds someone dies of hunger, that's a big thing. The ways that teens can get involved is starting up a club at their school to bring awareness to global issues and hunger. Really just educating each other about it. Not enough people really know about it yet, or care about it. Going up to your friends and talking about it, wearing t-shirts from our campaign, or re-Tweeting our posts help a lot. I have so much more knowledge about the issue. To me, it seems so much greater than the presidential debate.
What is your vision for the future?
For the campaign, I wanted to go viral like the Trevor Project. I would have expected it to start, we're later in the year. I wanted people to be like "have you heard about this campaign?", or one of those things where people are like "are you going to that event today? I want to help out." I really want people to get involved in hunger. People are living off absolutely nothing and don't have anything to eat. We make a big deal out of a new Walmart, but there are people starving.
I want to see lots of people involved. I want to see it on the Ellen show. I want it to go viral so badly. I want people to see it and see the pretty colors and really get into it, into Revolution Hunger. But more then that, make a life long commitment to stay involved and do your part.
What do you hope to see in your community and around the world?
In my community, I hope to see more people getting along with each other, and less hungry people. I want everyone to get along in the different quadrants. There's all this hatred, gang violence, people getting shot or stabbed, fighting in high school, and poverty. I want people to understand we have bigger issues than what hood you're from or who said what at lunch. We have some many bigger problems in DC alone, like hunger or our education system. I want to really be one of those communities where everyone helps each other out.
In the world I want the same things on a bigger scales. Like the wars, people don't know about each other's cultures. I want people to get to know about different world religions and cultures. Different cultures. I want everyone to be a part of fixing social injustices. Hunger is one of those. I really want everyone to just love everyone, to love humanity. That's my wish, that's what I want.