black transgender woman appointed as editor-in-chief of feminist publication, making history!
By Gender Bent
June 29, 2017
By WearYourVoice Mag*, AFROPUNK contributor
The Wear Your Voice (WYV) team would like to congratulate trans-activist Ashlee Marie Preston on her appointment as the new Editor-in-Chief. Writer, activist and media advocate, Preston serves on local and national advisory boards that promote social change.
In an all-too-familiar, homogeneous field of journalism, Preston is determined to use media to empower marginalized and disfranchised communities, whose voices are often omitted from mainstream conversation. With that goal in mind, and fully embracing the credo of people of color narrating their own stories, Preston shares her journey of surviving sexual violence, domestic abuse and chronic homelessness as a black transwoman to help others gain autonomy over their lives.
“My objective is to transform the traditional media landscape while redefining social norms and dispelling myths associated with feminism,” said Preston in a recent interview. “Growing up I felt underrepresented in mainstream media. I knew that someday I was going to change that by holding space for those that felt as I did. As women, those of color, and LGBTQ people, we’re often silenced while others speak as experts on our experiences. No one can tell our stories better than we can. The work WYV is doing is revolutionary because we are reserving space for diverse communities to tell their own stories.”
CEO and WYV Founder Ravneet Vohra, upon meeting Preston, fell in love with her vision and knew immediately that her presence and contribution would be in absolute alignment with WYV’s culture as a publication. Vohra created WYV magazine in 2014 with hopes that women and people of color could share, discuss and draw from each other’s experiences. Her mission then, as it is now, is to amplify black and brown voices that could encourage social change. Vohra knew that adding Preston to the team would put WYV on an even greater track to meet that goal.
“It was always my desire to bring forth powerful voices that could impact change,” said Vohra. “I didn’t have to explain our mission to Ashlee Marie because she was already living it through her very existence. As a fierce advocate for people on the margins of society, Ashlee Marie’s vision is going to inspire our audience and change lives.”
As a South Asian woman, survivor of childhood sexual abuse and domestic violence, Vohra took back her power by creating a publication that helped women and marginalized identities to discover theirs.
“Silence was the only way I knew how to survive,” said Vohra. “One day I realized my silence would no longer protect me. I knew I had to speak up not just for myself, but for others as well. With a voice and vision such as Ashlee Marie’s, we will continue growing as a safe space where information is reliable, topics are challenging, and all identities are validated.”
Preston’s hope is that her historic role as Editor-in-Chief will open space for other marginalized voices who are often left out of the mainstream social justice narrative.
This piece is published in partnership with WearYourVoiceMag.com.
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