We had the good fortune of connecting with Christian “CJ” Walden and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Christian “CJ”, let’s start by talking about what inspires you?
Life is not easy, nor is it black or white! Life is gray (in the middle) for all of us, and ultimately we decide our destiny. As a member of the LGBTQ+ community, I have dealt with discrimination for something out of my control: my sexuality. As a gay man, I have to fight for my fundamental rights against those who put me down or see me as a sinner. I am inspired by the drive of the underserved and underprivileged who strive for awareness and equality. People Of Color, Women, The LGBTQ+ Community, and others have continued to face widespread discrimination but have continued to push for equity and awareness. Women’s rights to their bodies have been restricted, People Of Color still face widespread racism, and the LGBTQ+ community still faces extensive homophobia. However, we persevere. I am inspired by the work of activists Marsha P. Johnson, Sylvia Rivera, Harvey Milk, Martin Luther King Jr. I am inspired to keep pushing for the day where women can hold the full authority of their bodies, and homophobia and racism are outdated ideas of the past.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I am 17 years old, yet I am the Vice-President of PRISM FL, Inc.’s working Board Of Directors and a prompt student activist and journalist. I hold over 1,000 hours of community service for my community. To me, I cannot sit idly by while People Of Color and the LGBTQ+ community face exacerbated discrimination.

Since seventh grade, I have been a student journalist. I was drawn to journalism due to my love of creative writing and reporting. Writing brings me happiness, and being able to share my talent with others brings me true joy. In addition, as a journalist, I can utilize my passion for writing and marketing for the causes I believe in. I have made multiple yearbooks that students will enjoy for years. I have created numerous articles for PRISM on Colorism, The Civil Rights Movement, Asexuality, and more for thousands of readers. I have managed the Instagram Accounts for Boca High’s TREE Club, GSA, and Paw Print. For over a year, I was the Social Media & Design Coordinators Director of PRISM where I managed monthly advertisement campaigns, volunteer staff, and hundreds of dollars in advertisement. In addition, I am the Social Media Coordinator for Costume World, the Nation’s largest Broadway Theatrical and Halloween Costume Rental Collection, where I manage several different platforms of marketing and hundreds of dollars in advertisement. I believe that striving to raise awareness and educate people is the first step to solving many global issues!

My journey has certainly not been easy. Living in the affluent city of Boca Raton, Florida, I stick out as someone with no wealth or status. I struggle with my body image and self-love. Even when surrounded by those who love and care about me, I sometimes feel lonely. The COVID-19 pandemic has awakened heightened anxiety, stress, and depression. Regardless of the work that I do, I feel worthless. My mental health journey has undoubtedly been on a downward slope on the rollercoaster of life, but I know that I must love myself and work to find happiness.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I live in Boca Raton, Florida. It is a city known for its affluence, beautiful beaches, and year-round tropical climate. If someone were to visit, I would suggest they do the following:

1. Have a gourmet dinner and see an off-broadway show at the Wick Theatre.
2. Go shopping at the luxurious Town Center mall with high-end shopping boutiques.
3. Visit Gumbo Limbo to see their extensive nature center, butterfly garden, sea turtle rehabilitation facility, and more!
4. Tour the Boca Raton Museum Of Art to see world-renowned artistic pieces.
5. Stroll through the nightlife spot of Boca Raton: Mizner Park. Dine at delicious restaurants, shop at unique boutiques, see a show, and more!
6. Visit Sugar Sand Park to stroll through their nature trail, learn from their science emporium, and more.
7. Stay at the world-class Boca Resort to be treated like royalty and enjoy their various services.
8. Visit Boca’s luxurious beaches to enjoy our beautiful tropical waters.
9. Enjoy a fun day of mini-golf, go-karting, arcade, and more at Boomers Boca Raton.
10. Visit the Coconut Cove Waterpark to enjoy a waterfilled day of family fun!

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I would like to recognize the work done by my non-profit organization: PRISM FL, Inc. PRISM FL, Inc or PRISM is an LGBT non-profit organization centered in South Florida. Our mission is to provide LGBT youth, especially LGBTQ people of color, with accessible, inclusive resources to empower the next generation. PRISM benefits the LGBT community by educating youth through our online resources via our website (https://www.prismfl.org/) and social media. We envision a community where youth understand how to maintain their physical and mental health and take action by seeking out testing, having deliberate conversations with sexual partners about protection and STI status, and utilizing community resources that they would not be aware of without PRISM. PRISM has solely existed during the COVID-19 pandemic, and yet we have already raised more than $20,000 to support LGBT youth and reach thousands of readers monthly with our educational resources.

Instagram: @christiancjwalden / https://www.instagram.com/christiancjwalden/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100070686332280

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