MASSIEL TORRES ULLOA
Writer/Activist, "Yo Soy Bau"
Boston City Council Award for Dedication to the Dominican Community 2016
Gold Key Honor Society, April, 2017
International Women’s Day “7 Jovenes Dignas de Imitar,” Noticias SIN, Dominican Republic, 2016
By: April M. Crehan
Thanks to a father who worked in publishing houses and a mother who gave her daughters “pop quizzes” on their reading, Massiel Torres has always had a natural inclination for writing.
“I’ve always been really concerned with politics and women’s issues,” said Torres, who used to spend lunch times in Santo Domingo talking politics and history with her family. “But I hadn’t been able to articulate that in a cohesive way.”
An urge to examine the intersection led her to create a blog, “Yo Soy Bau,” where her first post on Dominican culture went viral.
“I’ve always been really interested in the intersection of literature and social issues,” she said. “Through that I started developing some different content that was strictly directed to varying people’s literacy, just to make sure that we have time to read and keep ourselves informed.”
Torres said her time at Emerson, and in Boston as a whole, helped build her interest in activism.
“It made me more politically aware. It pushed me to be more articulate, to be more out there, to be a leader.”
During the day, Torres serves as a Massachusetts Promise fellow for Americorps at the Hyde Square Task Force, making sure local teens understand their cultures and empowering them to be leaders.
“Our main goal is to make sure that the youth have a plan when they graduate,” she said. “I love Hyde square so much. A lot of the youth are Dominican like me,” she said.
Torres also serves as an assistant facilitator for Writers without Margins, a group that works to amplify the voices of marginalized writers.
Currently, Torres is deciding how to brand her blog and maintain her goal to keep it a space for everyone. She wants to address literacy development for youth and has already had teachers from the Dominican Republic reach out to her asking for advice on nurturing a love of reading.
“It’s more about helping people develop their own skills than trying to indoctrinate them,” Torres said about her teaching and writing style.