and the lift is good

Since 2015, women’s participation in powerlifting has more than doubled. Often documented through instagram athletes and encouraged by the mantra “strong is the new skinny,” the face of heavy lifting has been changing. Schunck, while part of that movement, is also very different. She is not the best, not the strongest, and not the loudest—in fact, she shirks most public affirmations of her athletic prowess or progress.

“I don’t think I have good genes for any kind of sport,” she says. “Nobody is ever taught how to be athletic.”

But week after week, as the numbers rise and fall, as her determination grows and wanes, Schunck persists. She makes that Saturday morning drive, rallies herself, and lifts.

Originally published at The Establishment. Co-produced with Dominic Czarnota.

WATER IS LIFE

Celerina and Bartolo Chavez have lived in Arvin, a small agricultural town in California's Central Valley, for 20 years. Three years ago, they found out that their water was contaminated with a chemical called 123 Trichloropropane (or 123 TCP) — a known carcinogen and by-product of pesticides originally sold by Dow Chemical and Shell Oil Company. The California State Water Board recently passed a measure to regulate the chemical, but with ongoing legal battles with Dow and Shell, and the time it will take to treat the water, it could be years before residents benefit from it. Meanwhile, valley residents such as Celerina and Bartolo must find alternative sources of clean water, often at their own expense. 

Originally published at BOOM California. Co-produced with Briana Flin.

Harper's index — animated

Part of my internship at Harper's magazine was fact-checking the infamous Index — a list of numbers and statistics at the front of each magazine. I made this short animation in an attempt to visualize some of the work I did at Harper's and bring to life a classic feature of the magazine. 

RESIST! AN ANTI-FASCIST FASHION SHOW

In the early months of the Trump presidency, thousands protested on the streets of Berkeley, Oakland and San Francisco. At its peak, the genderqueer collective -- the Degenderettes -- staged an anti-fascist fashion show to raise money for social justice and equality causes. This social media video, captures its highlights.

EMPTY: DROUGHT AND FOOD INSECURITY IN THE VALLEY

Since 2009, California has experienced the worst drought in the state's recorded history. In Biola, a Fresno County town of less than 2,000 people, a state-funded food distribution program has staved off drought-caused hunger in the community, but advocates say the federal government's slow response is leaving vulnerable people behind.