We recently had the pleasure of sitting down (virtually) with Obie Anthony, Executive Director of Exonerated Nation, an organization that meets the immediate needs of exonerees by helping to heal the debilitating spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical effects of being wrongfully incarcerated and affects policy change for restoration and the righting of wrongs.

At only 19 years old, Obie was convicted of a murder he did not commit and spent 17 years in prison before being exonerated and released in 2011.When he left prison in 2011, he didn’t have a social security card or birth certificate and had to learn how to use a cell phone and write a resume. Since then, he’s helped other exonerees navigate the often difficult transition out of prison. He has been instrumental in the passage of California Assembly Bill No 672 (Obie’s Law) along with other key pieces of legislation.

We talked about identity and personal growth, what gets him up in the morning, his important work with Exonerated Nation, and which Seinfeld character he relates to the most.


Traducido por Pilar Espitia

La siguiente entrevista se llevó a cabo en julio de 2020 con Erika Quinteros, escritora e ilustradora de TOMASA TITO CONDEMAYTA: Una histora de valor y coraje. Erika Quinteros es ingeniera industrial con una maestría en Comunicación Política y Gobernanza de la Universidad George Washington. Ha trabajado como asesora en el diseño y evaluación de proyectos de desarrollo comunitario. Tiene un particular interés por temas de género, los derechos de las personas indígenas y la protección medioambiental. 

¿Qué te inspiró a escribir la historia de Tomasa Tito Condemayta?

Fue la misma Tomasa y su poderosa historia. Fue una mujer indígena que lideró un batallón de mujeres para luchar contra los españoles. Esto sucedió en un periodo cuando muchos peruanos creían que la mujer no tenía un papel militar o político. 

Creo que, al haber crecido leyendo tantos libros diferentes y siendo inspirada por personas extranjeras, no podía creer que nadie me hubiera contado la historia de Tomasa. Era peruana, como yo. Era una mujer, como yo. Y aunque yo no soy indígena, mi abuela era indígena, así que una parte de mí es indígena. En Perú nuestros héroes nacionales son sobre todo hombres blancos y pudientes. Creo que todo niño/a debería poder aprender sobre héroes con los que él o ella se pueda identificar, y estoy segura que muchos estarán fascinados e inspirados por Tomasa y su valentía.

The following interview was conducted in July 2020 with Erika Quinteros, author and illustrator of TOMASA TITO CONDEMAYTA: Una historia de valor y coraje. Erika Quinteros is an industrial engineer with a Master’s degree in Political Communication and Governance from the George Washington University. She has worked as a consultant in the design and evaluation of community development projects. She has a particular interest in issues of gender, the rights of indigenous people, and environmental protection.

What inspired you to write the story of Tomasa Tito Condemayta?

It was Tomasa herself and her powerful story. She was an indigenous woman leading a battalion of women to fight against the Spanish. This happened during a period when many Peruvians believe that women had no military or political role. 

I think, having grown up reading so many different  books and being inspired by people overseas, I just couldn’t believe that no one had told me Tomasa’s story. She was Peruvian, like me. She was a woman, like me. And even though I am not indigenous, my grandmother was indigenous, part of me is indigenous. In Peru, our national heroes are mostly wealthy white men. I think every child should be able to learn about heroes that she or he can identify with, and  I am sure many will be fascinated and inspired by Tomasa and her courage.

Hace poco nos sentamos con Néstor Gómez, cuarenta veces ganador del Moth Grand Slam, y conductor del podcast de historias, 80 Minutes Around the World.  

Néstor, que antes tartamudeaba, proviene de Guatemala y encontró su voz después de migrar a Chicago, entrar al bachillerato, y aprender a moverse dentro de una nueva cultura. Actualmente usa su plataforma para animar a otros a contar sus historias. 

“Cada lugar, cada persona y cada cosa me inspira una historia o poema distinto,” dice. 

Castelline_Tilus

The following interview is part of a series of conversations with young change-makers across the Western Hemisphere. From women’s rights to education to good governance, these leaders, founders, and creators are advocating for social good in a variety of ways across multiple platforms.


In this Q&A, Castelline Tilus, the co-founder and CEO of Ayiti Analyticsdiscusses how she fell in love with data science and went on to found Haiti’s first data science lab. Ayiti Analytics is focused on addressing challenges in Haiti through data science education, consulting and research. It leverages the potential of data science and analytics to connect youth in Haiti with meaningful employment opportunities and to co-create solutions to community identified challenges.


The following interview is part of a series of conversations with young change-makers across the Western Hemisphere. From women’s rights to education to good governance, these leaders, founders, and creators are advocating for social good in a variety of ways across multiple platforms. 


In this Q&A, Olivia Lovell, the founder of Women of Destiny, an organization that provides mentorship and trainings to women who have been victims of abuse, explains how she overcame adversity and found her purpose and how she helps young women in Jamaica do the same. This interview has been edited lightly for clarity.


We recently sat down with Nestor “the Boss” Gomez, host of the storytelling podcast 80 Minutes Around the World and 40-time winner of the Moth Grand Slam

Nestor, who used to stutter, hails from Guatemala and found his voice after migrating to Chicago, enrolling in high school, and learning to navigate a new culture. Currently, he uses his platform to encourage others to tell their stories. 

“Every place, person and thing inspires a different story or poem,” he says.

This piece has been lightly edited for clarity. 

The Journey North

My childhood was a very hard childhood. I was the second of four siblings. Actually, I’m the second of six. Two of my siblings died when they were very young. We were poor and my family made Guatemalan worry dolls [small cloth figures dressed in traditional Mayan clothing] that we sold at the airport and tourist shops.