The coffee that changed my life

Many times I was told that my grain of sand would be lost in the desert; that she was an idealist for dreaming of changing the world one word at a time. They thought that my ideas were for journalism like taking stones to the river; that it was not talent, that I had too much accent and I lacked time.

I was warned that a single person did not turn a boat; that betting on a community project would be just a hobby and that a small group was not synonymous with journalism. I smiled at them with curious eyes, curved lips, numb cheeks, and fluttering heart.

Today my experiment Connect Arizona celebrates two years of blooming like the desert: against everything. He is no longer mine alone: ​​he is ours.

Connect Arizona began as a cross-border lifeline in the pandemic. It was just a WhatsApp group that connected Arizona and Sonora with information, news, resources, memes, and experts in Spanish primarily in response to the COVID-19 crisis. We grew very fast. We now have mailing lists, a weekly radio show, a Substack newsletter, campaigns on social networks and in June we will launch a podcast with stories of human bridges built when others build walls.

our heart beats in La Hora del Cafecito, a daily hour of intense conversations on WhatsApp about news, controversies, politics, health, immigration and even entertainment gossip. We talk about everything. We’re not afraid of tough issues, we don’t spin around controversy, and we’re not intimidated by disagreement. Until today, we have 609 coffees with more than 160 messages each. That is dialogue.

We are not a traditional media outlet nor do we want to be. We bet on hyperlocal journalism, to talks, to constant reporting with feedback, to transparency, to spending time listening, to verifying data, to working in Spanish, to empowering binationality and biculturality. We bet on it for the people. We bet on collaborations and strengthening others such as Prensa Arizona, Onda 1190, El Sol de Hermosillo and more. That has taken us to Stanford and CUNY University in New York, to being written about by Harvard, The New Yorker, The New York Times, the Washington Post, Aljazeera and more.

And it all started with me and now it reaches where I never imagined, thanks to you.

So when they tell you that one person can’t change the world, take their hand and show them the magic of human links. Don’t let go. Teach them that one by one we weave stories, friendships, support networks, community families, proud neighborhoods, informed conversations and a new narrative that has our hands, our faces, our languages ​​and accents.

show them that journalism is not extraction but inspiration; that the notes are not born in communications but in afternoons of dialogue; that we can all be mythbusters and human lifesavers; that you grow stronger when you plant deeper; that bind us together by zip codes, school boards, borders, celebrations, and even the pandemic. Invite them to open their eyes by your side, by your hand, and they will realize that we are not alone, we are a long chain called community.

Then buy them a coffee. Listens. Read. Put down the notebook and turn off the recorder. Allow yourself to hear, be and accompany without filters. Immerse yourself in your community; don’t step aside; feel part of it… you are part of it. And when you understand that it is not them and us, that we are one, start writing, creating, asking, investigating and reporting. This is how the world is changed; this is how the ship moves; this is how a bridge is made; This is how we write our history.