When You Were Young

Challenging Stigma and Silence: How “When You Were Young” Empowers Voices of Color

Raised by a single mother and Mexican-American grandparents who were field workers, Tracey Quezada experienced racial oppression first hand. These experiences taught her that we are not all treated equally, and some of us have to work that much harder to achieve our dreams.

As a Latina filmmaker working in a field dominated by white males she has had to work extra hard to prove her “competence” as a journalist, director and editor — an experience that inspired her to share the stories of people like herself and “examine and uncover the many issues that keep marginalized communities from prospering.” 

When Quezada learned a family member had been sexually assaulted by her grandfather, she was surprised by how little mainstream media covered child sexual abuse (CSA) for communities of color. She became motivated to address the ongoing trauma CSA has on families, communities, and society as a whole, sparking her interest to direct the documentary film “When You Were Young” through her media production company, Tracey Quezada Productions

The documentary film tells the story of Aqueila Lewis coming to terms with the intergenerational cycle of CSA within her family. The film in progress tells how Lewis’ mother reported the sexual abuse to child protective services, which did little to help, causing Lewis to remain in the same home with the father who raped her. 

To coincide with the film, When You Were Young, Quezada is working with her team on an impact campaign that will build dialogue and understanding of the impacts of CSA as well as challenge “the stigma and silence” that perpetuates sexual abuse.  

As the first documentary film to tell the story of an African American woman and her experiences with CSA, Quezada seeks to highlight how “African American families and individuals experience added layers of trauma from their experience of everyday racism and, for African American women, sexism.” 

Quezada explained how her film and impact campaign come at a significant moment in time. “A major focus of the Black Lives Matter movement has been defunding the police department and reallocating the funds towards community-based solutions,” said Quezada explaining how a shift in community funds may have caused a different outcome for Lewis and her family.

“Our film and campaign will help underscore how the defunding model could assist in the broader conversation of how current policing fails families, especially families of color,” she said, adding that she hopes her film can “build awareness around this issue and inspire survivors, bystanders, and people working on the frontlines with survivors to join a movement and create models outside of the criminal legal system to effectively address child sexual abuse.”

“It’s truly difficult to find an issue so impactful, yet so neglected,” said Quezada. “It’s my heartfelt passion to do all I can to change that.”

View the “When You Were Young” teaser trailer here: Tracey Quezada Productions

View Tracey Quezada’s website here: Tracey Quezada Productions

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