Hi, I'm Leda
Stories are more than just a narrative. They have the power to fill the void so many people feel in their lives, including mine.
I’ve spent countless hours in front of my living room television, reading books late at night and watching movies in an empty theater. The stories filled my heart with purpose, meaning and perspective. Without those storylines, growing up, I would not have survived some of the most painful experiences in my life.
Born with achondroplasia, a type of dwarfism characterized by short stature, I was targeted for being “different” every day of my life. Over the years, I was judged solely by my appearances rather than by my passion and potential. As a child, I could never fathom why I was targeted and singled out. The fact that I did not find a place where I truly belonged allowed me to dive deeper into the world of storytelling. It let me flee reality and build inside my imagination a place of acceptance and originality. In that world, I wasn’t afraid or ashamed of living my own truth. It was a place where I accepted my reality and I didn’t let it affect me.
Growing up, I didn’t see many people who looked like me on a magazine cover or as the lead actress in a big Hollywood movie. Representation was lacking, and for me, that was critical for my self-esteem. Millions of people around the world have, in some way, shape or form, felt neglected at some point in their life. Their voices were silenced by those who oppressed them, just as I was silenced by the people who hurt me the most with insensitive comments and ignorant behaviors. The moment I changed my mindset, that’s when I started looking at stories in a more meaningful way.
To me, stories became the small crack of light in the middle of some of my darkest moments. Despite their small size, they can still be seen and felt.
The passion I have for storytelling is what allows me to write compelling stories that will have a much-needed impact in our communities. As I further expand my knowledge in the field of journalism, I will continue to work as hard as I can to give to the unheard the voice they so much seek and deserve.
MY WORK AT THE ORACLE
Ever since I started writing for The Oracle as a correspondent in the fall of 2018, I’ve continuously shown the staff, the community and those in power that I am unafraid of pursuing stories, especially those that come with a risk or require an extensive investigation to expose some of the things no one wants to be published. The countless people that I had the pleasure of interviewing over the years have shown me the power of storytelling and how much their voices matter.
As the Editor in Chief, I work tirelessly toward leading the team to write compelling and relevant stories within our community while gaining our reader’s trust and making The Oracle the number one source for USF news around the Tampa Bay area. The summer of 2020 was the busiest and most challenging semester so far, as my team and I worked on stories ranging from COVID-19 and school reopening to the Black Lives Matter protests and racial issues within our own campus.
The responsibility of spreading information and helping my peers to stay informed and form judgments on the important events across the USF community was one I did not take lightly. Every day, I committed myself to practice and learn as much as I could about my job as well as stay true to the journalistic ethics and my own personal values that I hold so dear to my heart. Integrity, truth and fairness are some of the core values of journalism, and without it, its foundation would fall apart. As a student journalist, I was committed to pursuing truth at all times while telling the untold stories of our community.