Innovator of the Week: Jackson

Social Injustices Documentary from Texas (0336)

Led by: Jackson
Special Olympics Texas

The following post was written by Jackson, a Special Olympics youth leader from Texas. Jackson makes it his mission to strengthen inclusion in his community. Check out how he worked to #innovateforinclusion!

A Special Olympic Youth Leader from Texas smiling in front of a brick wall. Text within image reading: “Texas, USA. Social Injustices Documentary. February 28, 2021”

I came up with the idea of creating a documentary during Quarantine. Major events were going on in the world, specifically the murder of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. I was having conversations with friends about the emotional impact and what I felt. I felt like I needed to do something even if it was a small piece, I couldn’t sit still and continue to just be an observer. We needed change and I needed to be a part of the change. My project was created to show different perspectives from Unified members across the country. I hope that this documentary educates others and opens their eyes to the types of experiences they have lived.

A major challenge and obstacle were COVID. Originally, I saw myself going to see different participants and interviewing them/shadowing them. I wanted to truly see life in their shoes. COVID did not allow for travel and so I had to find a way to complete the project virtually. Another major challenge was learning how to film and edit a movie. It is much more difficult than I anticipated. The last obstacle I had is something I deal with every day of my life. I have Dyslexia. Dyslexia makes it difficult for me to read. I have to do things in small increments to not be frustrated and feel fatigued. However, I loved getting to learn and grow through this experience.

My most memorable moments were the interviews. This was because I created strong connections with the participants. Some of the people that I worked with were Tajha Illerant, Eddie Yarbrough, Dalton Risner, and Daina Shilts. From Eddie, I learned that racial inequality is learned and can be changed. From Tajha I learned that we must all treat each other with respect and actions can affect our feelings dramatically. From Dalton, I learned that we must love each other no matter the differences that we have. I learned from Daina that Special Olympics and unified is what is going to change this world and make it a place that everyone can accept. I am extremely grateful for these participants and they will be able to teach the world these new ideas.

To view the full documentary click here.

The Special Olympics Youth Innovation Grant initiative is supported through partnerships with SNF, Hasbro Inc., the Office of Special Education Programs at the United States Department of Education, Samuel Family Foundation, Lions Club International Foundation, Microsoft Corporation, PMIEF, and Kantar. Learn more about these inspiring projects at SpecialOlympicsGlobalYouthProjects.org.

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