S3E4: Villy Wang, Founder of BAYCAT (#33)

Storytelling with Villy Wang - Ending Racism One Story at a Time

Villy Wang had a crazy dream: to create a new kind of social enterprise that helps kids who, like her, grew up in the projects. Raised by an immigrant single mother in New York City, Villy’s desire to tell her story forged a passion for using the digital media arts to capture stories untold and to create social change. That’s why she founded BAYCAT, leveraging her impressive 25-year background in education, arts programming, nonprofit business and law.

Villy received her double B.A. in Engineering and Economics from Brown University, J.D. degree from Northwestern University, and her teaching credential from San Francisco State University. Villy filmed and produced a short entitled, “Unplugged,” that was featured in the 2005 Marin Environmental Film Festival. She is also fluent in Mandarin.

This social entrepreneur believes deeply in the power of story, especially video, to help connect people. 

"You want to be like everybody else because there's this sense of belonging that every single person wants. There's something about the lack of story that makes someone feel invisible. Every person's story matters." - Villy Wang on the importance of stories

Don't be a secondary character in someone else's story: Write your own

With so many stories being told over so many years by one race and one gender, it's no wonder many people feel like their stories aren't being told. Sometimes when bombarded by so many images and stories, we feel like secondary characters in someone else's story. 

Villy and everyone at BAYCAT work hard to help young people realize that they don't have to secondary characters. By empowering storytellers of all kinds, we weave a tapestry of diverse stories - and maybe even end racism through story.

"One of the things we try to teach young people is to be authentic in who they are. It's about engaging young people exactly where they are."  - Villy Wang on the power of story

Video has the power to change minds

The idea of having young people tell a professional story, especially if they come from an underserved area, is sometimes difficult to comprehend for some people. Villy talks about some clients who show surprise when they see a finished product and realize that some of the work comes from less experienced teenagers who are learning to authentically tell their own stories through a non-profit organization.

"Video, especially when it comes to stories about race and how you see somebody is powerful. It's great when you can challenge stereotypes of age or being a non-profit social enterprise. When I show them the work, they're like 'Whoa this is good!'" - Villy Wang on the power of video

Connect with Villy and BAYCAT:

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