Interviewed by Kimberly from Revive’s journalism team.
How did Ramaya start WESPARKCHANGE?
She and her cofounder started WESPARKCHANGE the summer of 2020 out of anger, frustration, and continued sorrow for the Black community in regards to police brutality and racial injustices. They started it by reaching out to peers and their communities to uplift their thoughts and opinions about what was going on and swiftly moved it onto a social media platform for people around the world.
What does the organization stand for?
The mission of this organization is to invite the bright young minds of our future to progressive issues in order to cultivate an environment where youth are enlightened, educated, and most importantly empowered. This organization stands in sparking change and serving our communities.
What are some things Ramaya did to become a Social Impact Honoree for The Conversationalist?
- Co-founder of WESPARKCHANGE
- Involved Atlanta community member/volunteer
- Political and social justice journalist
- Representative in the media/radio stations
What made you decide to start an organization?
One of the reasons I started an organization was because I knew that not only was my voice valuable but so many of my peers and many of us, especially my self were tired of feeling unheard and unnoticed.
How has your mental health affected you during the BLM protests?
It honestly has been exhausting, mentally and emotionally I am tired of consistently seeing people who look like me die in their sleep, while running, at school, at stores, and more. It has made me fearful of having a Black father and baby brother not knowing if when they go to the grocery store will they be victims next.
Have you ever experienced an attack of fear, anxiety, or panic?
Yes, I have experienced a plethora of attacks of fear, anxiety, and panic. It’s hard being Black in America not knowing any corner you take how my life will be in jeopardy.
Can you tell me about any times over the past few months that you’ve been bothered by low feelings or stress?
I have felt a lot of stress from school and trying to be a social justice activist. I have honestly found it hard going on social media and then the only things I see are Black men and women dying at a heartbeat.
I have also felt a lot of stress from reaching perfectionism in this awe of being successful throughout all the boundaries in America.
Why do you think prioritizing mental health is so important, especially for youth?
Because it’s important for us to understand that it’s okay not to be okay, it’s okay to be vulnerable, and that is okay for us to be sensible and not desensitized to the norms of our society at large.
What does mental health mean to YOU?
Mental health because prioritizing self needs, thoughts, and emotions first for a person well being. It means feeling comfortable saying no, privatize self-care, and balancing a life that throws so much at us. It means staying in tune with myself.