As the clock hit 5:28 PM on Monday, October 3, 2011, a silent air of suspense began to rise. The VoiceWaves team was quickly skimming through the articles they would later read aloud and VoiceWaves Project Director and Executive Editor Prum was nowhere to be found. Friends and family began walking through the doors of the Manazar Gamboa Theater with warm smiles and friendly introductions. Wendy and Sophie greeted people and asked them to fill out sign-in sheets, others walked around and looked at the pictures of graffiti hanging on the walls.
The official launch of our website had begun.
Representatives of city officials, local organizations, and even youth from the YMCA Youth Institute came through the doors. As food from Lily Bakery was set up, everyone couldn’t help but come out of the theater and into the front room. The great conversations flowed and the VoiceWaves team introduced one another to family and friends.
Prum began by thanking the attendees and introducing the team, then he proceeded to show everyone the website and its many features.
Sophinarath read her very inspiring story on an elder who escaped from the Khmer Rouge regime.
Taitu read the story about her mother who is a single mother trying to raise a family in a bad economic climate.
Wendy read an elder profile about an elderly immigrant woman who has decided to stay in the country because she was concerned that her daughter would be unable to make it on her own.
John Oliver read his very engaging article on the lack of Asian Americans in mainstream media.
I read my article on the soon to be released convicts and some of the hardships they will be facing upon release.
The night closed with a performance by Ade and Cheeravath. Ade sang a song that he and Cheeravath wrote while Cheeravath played the guitar. As the crowd cheered and expressed their congratulations, we knew the website launch was clearly a success.
VoiceWaves Youth Journalist armed with a camera and ready to document! Photo courtesy of VoiceWaves.
Community members speak with VoiceWaves Project Director + Executive Editor Prumsodun Ok before the presentation. Photo courtesy of VoiceWaves.
Jennifer Cheang shares a few words on behalf of The California Endowment. Photo courtesy of VoiceWaves.
Rene Castro, front-right, of Building Healthy Communities looks on during the presentation. Photo courtesy of VoiceWaves.
VoiceWaves Youth Journalist Taitu Negus reads her elderly profile, “Sonya Clark: A Single Mother in a Bad Economy.” Photo courtesy of VoiceWaves.
VoiceWaves Youth Journalist John Oliver Santiago reads his opinion piece, “Where Are Asian Americans In The Media?” as VoiceWaves Project Director + Executive Editor looks on. Photo courtesy of VoiceWaves.
An engaged and supportive audience. Photo courtesy of VoiceWaves.
VoiceWaves Youth Journalists Cheeravath Aphipunyo (left) and Ade’ Ford perform a song they wrote together to close the presentation. Photo courtesy of VoiceWaves.
The warm embrace of a team. VoiceWaves Youth Journalists, left to right, Jesus Hernandez, Wendy Lopez, Ade’ Ford, and Sophinarath Cheang.