About Face — Austin Monthly
September 1, 2019
Back in April, Map Pequeira was one of the first casualties of President Trump’s military trans ban when he lost his ROTC scholarship at the University of Texas. Beyond losing tens of thousands of dollars worth of academic funding, Pesqueira (who identifies as a transgender man) was stripped of his lifelong dream of serving in the military. In the months since, he has become an outspoken trans rights advocate, sharing his story with outlets around the country and at prominent nationwide events. With college classes starting back up, I sat down with the 19-year-old UT sophomore to discuss his dedication to serving in the Army, how this experience has shaped him, and where he goes from here.
‘I began feeling like I mattered’: How on-campus mental health counseling can make a big difference — The Washington Post
My second mental health piece with the Post, this story underscores the impact of in-school therapy on student health and happiness by highlighting a groundbreaking program that’s been built in Austin, Texas. In addition to shining a light on the need for accessible mental healthcare across all communities and sharing the stories of students aided by the city’s on-campus clinics, this article details how Austin’s breakthroughs could be spurring a larger movement in the Lone Star State.
A First Step Out of Prison — GEN Magazine
June 25, 2019
Part of GEN Magazine’s groundbreaking project, The Trump 45 — which profiles 45 people whose lives have been irrecoverably changed since Donald Trump became president — this piece focuses on Katherine Toney, a nonviolent offender whose sentence was reduced by the First Step Act. Among other things, Toney and I discussed her transition back home and into the workforce and her belief that there’s still more work to be done in the realm of prison reform.
A Pediatrician Activist Turned Lawmaker — GEN Magazine
June 25, 2019
Part of GEN Magazine’s groundbreaking project, The Trump 45 — which profiles 45 people whose lives have been irrecoverably changed since Donald Trump became president — this piece focuses on Kim Schrier, a pediatrician in Washington who decided to run for the House of Representatives after being blindsided by the 2016 election. “I just couldn’t believe what was happening,” she said. “It felt like my country was slipping away like sand through my fingers.” What she lacked in experience and political know-how, she made up for in passion and grit, a recipe that propelled her to a 2018 congressional victory.
A Landowner Caught in the Border Wall’s Crosshairs — GEN Magazine
June 25, 2019
Part of GEN Magazine’s groundbreaking project, The Trump 45 — which profiles 45 people whose lives have been irrecoverably changed since Donald Trump became president — this piece focuses on Fred Cavazos. Born and raised in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley, 70-year-old Cavazos is staring down the prospect of losing his ancestral lands to President Trump’s long-promised Southern border wall. “It’s a waiting game for us. We don’t have any choice in our own fate here.”
What’s Next for Sam’s BBQ? — Austin Monthly
July 1, 2019
Last fall, Brian Mays made headlines across Texas when he rejected multiple million-dollar offers from out-of-state developers vying for his East Austin property, which has housed Sam’s BBQ for nearly half a century. Nearly a year later, Mays is still holding out for the right offer — a predicament that’s as painstaking as it is pressure-packed: “How many people do you know who’d turn down $5 million for their community? Who the f*** does that?”
An Inside Look at ‘The River and The Wall’ — Austin Monthly
May 1, 2019
The feature story for Austin Monthly’s May issue, this piece provides an up-close look at the people and inspiration behind The River and The Wall, a breathtaking adventure documentary that captures the nuance and beauty of the Texas-Mexico border. The film, which follows five characters on a 1200-mile journey by horse, bike, and boat along the Rio Grande, provides critical insight into the communities, places, and ecosystems that will be most impacted by a physical border wall.
‘Hurdle’ is a Gritty Tale of Hope and Survival — The Texas Observer
April 16, 2019
My review of ‘Hurdle,’ a documentary that follows two young Palestinians living in the shadow of the West Bank wall. The two men, Sami and Mohammad, attempt to weather the oppression and violence surrounding them through parkour and photography. A unique film with a powerful and timely message, the documentary intimately captures the pressure, pain and aspirations of Palestinians living under Israel occupation.
‘The River and The Wall’ is a Visually Stunning Borderland Adventure – The Texas Observer
March 15, 2019
My review of ‘The River and The Wall,’ a documentary seeking to capture the people, places, and wildlife that will be irrecoverably damaged by the construction of a southern border wall. The film, which debuted at SXSW in March, follows five conservationists who embark on a 1200-mile journey along the Texas-Mexico border by horse, bike, and boat. Along the way, they document the borderlands’ rich ecosystems, stop to speak with politicians and local stakeholders, and explore the alternatives to a southern border barrier.
In Good Hands — Austin Monthly
March 1, 2019
Musicians put Austin on the map, but rising costs of living and a shifting industry have made it all but impossible for them to make ends meet there. This feature for Austin Monthly’s March issue explores the mounting challenges the city’s musicians are facing and the organizations — including Health Alliance for Austin Musicians - HAAM, The SIMS Foundation, and Black Fret — who provide healthcare, economic aid, and mental healthcare to the folks who built The Live Music Capital of the World.
Suicide Among Veterinarians Has Become a Growing Problem — The Washington Post
My first piece with the Post details a chilling trend among some of America’s most selfless, caring professionals: veterinarians. Drawing on firsthand experience from current and former vets, this fascinating story sheds light on the multitude of factors fueling a suicide crisis among animal care workers across the country. Furthermore, this article explores the movement to provide veterinarians with the much-needed resources to curb the impacts of this harrowing issue.
All the Crazy Things America’s Corrupt Public Officials Bought with Your Money This Year — Observer
December 31, 2018
To kick off 2019 in proper fashion, I wrote a rundown of the most shameless political spending schemes exposed last year. Needless to say, they were... ridiculous. From Nashville Mayor Megan Barry’s $100,000 taxpayer-funded extra-marital affair to Ben Carson’s exceptionally expensive taste in dining decor to the Air Force’s embarrassing affinity for high-end drinking vessels and $14,000 toilet seats, scandals were exposed at every level of government and on both ends of the political spectrum in 2018 — proving once again that in a democracy, the people get the government they deserve.
The Next Step for Sekrit Theater — Austin Monthly
December 1, 2018
For years, Beau Reichert’s Sekrit Theater—a creative refuge known for its wild mix of art installations, experimental architecture, and a massive backyard movie theater—has been a staple in the Austin art community and a gathering spot for tourists. But as new development (and new people) moved into lots adjacent to the theater, the urban event space became a lightning rod for criticism and zoning complaints. It was more than Reichert, who created the space as a therapeutic outlet for his Asperger’s Syndrome, could handle. I sat down with the artist to discuss his lengthy battle with the city and his neighbors and his recent decision to switch things up and make Sekrit Theater ground zero for a sustainable community unlike any other.
How the Great American Road Trip Helped Me Deal With My Father’s Death — Adventure.com
November 13, 2018
After my father died of cancer, I was lost, depressed, and broken — so I packed up my car and embarked on a journey we’d once dreamt of taking together: The great American road trip. This story details the awe-striking places my travels took me (including the Grand Canyon, the Rocky Mountains, and the arches of Utah) but, more importantly, it captures the new perspective on life, death, and my father’s legacy I returned home with.