By Andrea Mau
Web Content Contributor
November’s Common Experience event features the distinguished guest speaker John Quiñones. Quiñones is a native Texan from San Antonio and attended Texas State briefly while acquiring his undergraduate degree in Mass Communications at St Mary’s.
Since his humble beginnings as a cherry-picker, Quiñones took advantage of qualities unique to himself (such as his bilingualism) to get a leg up in journalism. Experiencing discrimination for his Latino background in the past, Quiñones sought to show how one’s cultural heritage can be used as an asset.
He combats this discrimination on his hit TV show, “What Would You Do?” in which Quiñones emphasizes the importance of tackling current destructive social phenomena. The series both showcases the inevitable judgment of everyday people, but also the power in stepping up against hateful perspectives.
Quiñones’ work is incredibly relevant to today’s problem of bystander-ism. In a world more isolated than ever, it is easy to forget about issues that do not directly impact us. This is why Quiñones strives for relevancy in topics chosen for “What Would You Do?”
“We like to capture ideas from real-life instances… and then personal experiences. As a Latino, I remember as a migrant farmworker in Michigan and Ohio people would follow me around stores… We follow issues that are prominent right now: transgender issues, LGBTQ issues, [etc],” said Quiñones.
By covering the latest social and political controversies, the show maintains influential subjects that are reflective of modern society. This is entwined with Quiñones’ passion for humanitarian journalism that puts empathy above all else.
In terms of how Quiñones uses his platform to help others, he says, “You hope by shining a light on the situation they’re in help will come… That’s the beauty about journalism… you expose something and that life will turn better for the victim or subject of your story.”
John Quiñones’ inspirational work exhibits how important it is to use one’s unique qualities and background as tools to better the world.
“Giving a voice to people who don’t have a voice, not only speaking to the movers and shakers of the world, but to the moved and shaken,” said Quiñones.
With all of the social change that has come with this year, Quiñones recognizes that newsrooms are changing how they address their audience and understanding that diversity and inclusion is something that the world is demanding.
Quiñones’ ultimate goal for young students is to shoot for their dreams and work as hard as you can to get in the room and be heard. He worked his whole life to get where he is and has fought adversity and bias the whole way.
“America is changing whether some people accept it or not. They are looking more like you and they are looking more like me,” said Quiñones.
John Quiñones is the definition of a man that has changed with the times and has been able to witness the generational change in thinking and know which side he wants to be on. He is the “moved and the shaken.”
Featured Image by John Quiñones and Texas State Common Experience