Dear WriteBoston community,

My name is Mohamed Barrie. Born in Sierra Leone, raised in Guinea, Ivory Coast, and finally settling down in Belgium for the last 17 years. And now life has brought me to Cambridge. Actually, my wife brought me to Cambridge. She’s currently doing her PhD at Harvard’s Anthropology and African, African American studies departments.

To be honest with you, English is not my first language. As an immigrant child living in the diaspora, I’ve lost many languages that came to me naturally. My life story is one filled with beautiful moments in very troubling environments, either through war or living in racist society. The impact on my life was that I was forced at a young age to find my happy place and focus on that. For me those happy places are the football (soccer) fields, music, and community work. Working with others and using my talents to foster growth and a place of belonging feels like breathing to me.

photo of Mohamed sitting down and smiling at the camera

I don’t want to tell you about my long list of achievements in creating and co-creating. I do want to tell you about my passion for stories and my transition from once being a young kid, not even knowing he needed guidance to find his passion for writing and storytelling. My luck came due to my older sister (I call her that but she’s a dear friend). She took me to places that I would have never gone to and once I felt more at ease in these spaces, I met people that pushed me to explore skills like writing, reading, and creating events. In many ways I have been blessed and lucky with the people around me. And it’s this spirit and vibe I’ve always tried to pay forward, knowing that most of us just need these spaces where we can be curious, vulnerable, and able to make mistakes.

photo of Muhammad Ali with one open hand facing the camera

“The man who has no imagination has no wings.”

– Muhammad Ali

In many ways my life story could be seen as one of great social mobility. But I’m very weary of the neoliberal racist world we live in. You will come to know me as someone who’s critical of systems of oppression, always trying to learn the connections of histories that impact our lives today. My aim is to create in a messy world a place that helps youth become and aspire to be greater things beyond the obstacles that are unfortunately there for those of us that feel the hand of oppressive systems daily.

During my search for a job here, I wanted to look for a job that sits in my core and that, like all my previous endeavors and jobs, tells you exactly what I believe in and strive towards. All this I found in WriteBoston and Teens in Print.

I truly believe all my previous journeys and endeavors have prepared me to be part of WriteBoston.

Two students standing side by side holding the Teens in Print newspaper open to their stories

My life in many ways has been one of traveling and displacement. This has spiked my natural quest for adventure, curiosity, and community building. I enjoy the art of creating spaces for others to thrive. This genuine love has seen me create and CO-create community based and led organizations in Belgium. My curiosity has pushed me to travel and explore, learn, and bring back knowledge to share with those close to me.

I enter the space of WriteBoston and especially Teens in Print in the acknowledgment of the work that’s already been done and those that paved the way. Knowing that I now have the opportunity to push forward and craft the narrative fitting the vision that our students have for TiP. In all my work I will strive to put student perspectives as owners of TiP up front.

I bring with me over a decade of work in the fields of social work, youth work, education, community organizing, arts and sports. Most of all I come bearing gifts, grit, and newer ways of looking that I hope to share with you.

Warm regards and really looking forward to get to know you,

Mohamed Barrie