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YOUTH VOICES: Kai Tomizawa

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Kai Tomizawa, Sophomore, Grant High School

“Stories play a big role in everything. Stories are how we understand the world. They’re how we empathize with people we’ve never met. They’re how we make sense of the past and the future. It’s the way people try to understand why we’re on this earth. It’s the way people understand their purpose. 

One thing that’s difficult about acting is that you have to wait for someone to find you and to cast you. And you have to be trying to be the right person for someone else. With filmmaking I can tell my own stories and I can be a person who opens up all these doors and gives opportunities to other people.

“Something in me just wants to leave a mark.” 

I’m scared [for the future] and I also feel guilty because I feel I should be doing so much. But it doesn’t fall on one person to change things. It’s so easy to say, ‘that doesn’t affect me, I don’t care.’ It can be with stories about people that you don’t know, or of climate change in places you’ve never been. It can be stories of animals that are dying or people that are dying but if you think that it doesn’t affect you then you’re not likely to do anything.

There’s this story we’ve been telling ourselves that this doesn’t affect me or that after I’m gone, no one will care. But the story that we need to be telling ourselves is that everything we do affects everybody. We’re all part of this interlacing world.” 

— Photo and interview by Mischa Webley, Northeast Coalition of Neighborhoods