Aston Davies: Through New Perspectives


The Davies Family

Aston Davies’s picture reflects the thoughtfulness he puts into his work at the Humanitarian Weekly.

“We’re in a time period where there is a demand for change,” Aston Davies reflects as he talks to me about his magazine, the Humanitarian Weekly. We’re chatting on a Zoom call as he sits in front of green tennis courts shining under the hot California sun. He has a powerful mission “to give a voice to those who don’t have the platform to speak up”, and he’s accomplishing it one story at a time.

But let’s go back to the beginning.

Aston is a full-time junior in his third year at OHS. He lives close to Sacramento, CA, and has lived there his whole life. He’s interested in politics and law and plays competitive tennis with his brother. Having grown up as someone of mixed race (Black and Caucasian), he is deeply aware of the discrimination that is faced by people of color and other minorities in the US, simply for being seen as “other”.

Over the past summer, he had the idea to start a magazine highlighting the stories and memoirs of immigrants and refugees. He drew inspiration from the wake of the activism surrounding George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, as well as large news sources like The New York Times, whom he hopes to share the stage with in the future. After building the website, at the beginning of September, the Humanitarian Weekly was born.

Aston has since expanded the reach of its topics to include editorials about other relevant political topics, but the focus remains on discrimination, race, and immigration. The Humanitarian Weekly’s approach–the stories of individuals–helps bring reality into focus. This is the opposite of mainstream media where individuals blur into numbers. As Aston tells me, the focus is on “people’s own narratives”. To gather the stories he uses in pieces such as A Journey From Vietnam and The DACA Project, Aston reaches out to many people, through mutual acquaintances and emails, in the hope that a few will respond and help him share their stories with the world.

Aston says that he learns something new from every article, such as the relevance of gratitude in his own life while hearing the story of a Vietnamese refugee in A Journey From Vietnam, and the hardships she faced growing up in the thick of the Vietnam War. Similarly, writing and interviewing people for The DACA Project taught him that DACA immigrants have the potential to contribute to their communities in powerful ways, and are certainly equal contributors compared to their American citizen peers.

Aston hopes that these personal stories help people understand other perspectives and the policies that affect groups other than their own. Reading the Humanitarian Weekly, we can learn about the divisions and differences that drive discrimination, as well as the importance of having common humanity.