Today we’d like to introduce you to Chela Reyna.
Hi Chela, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start maybe you can share some of your backstory with our readers?
I founded Writers for Rights on two pillars that storytelling has always provided me: purpose in the present and hope for the future.
While growing up, I was observant and extremely sensitive. I watched the world turn around me in this kaleidoscope of chaos and calm, joy and suffering, loss and love. I found the best way to navigate it was to soar above the noise on the wings of an idea, to see through the eyes of characters with perspectives different than my own, to inhale information and emotion and to exhale my responses with ink. Writing became an intrinsic part of my being.
I brought my passion to Los Angeles where I obtained my degrees in Cinema Arts-Screenwriting and Comparative Cultural Studies and am in love with my work here as a writer, editor, and story consultant. All of my work is guided by my belief in the transformative power of creativity. Creatives can both predict the future and mold the future. Creatives feel and reveal, and allow others to feel in ways they haven’t before. Creatives draw connections to causes otherwise distant. Creatives broaden perspectives and open minds. And that is the first step to changing the world…. a world that has never needed change more desperately than it does today.
In 2020, I began paying more attention to the news than I ever had before, and was overwhelmed by the devastation riddling every story. How could we hear these headlines then go about our normal days? What about change? And what about all the stories lost in the margins of the papers, sufferings unspoken, stories untold? We needed a new form of journalism, one that helped ensure no story would remain untold and no suffering would remain unchanged. Something that didn’t just tell us what was happening, but did something about it. The only action I was seeing was action that spurred more division between us.
So I stopped hoping, wishing, waiting for change, and set out to create it. To bring people together instead of apart, people who have different perspectives but are unified in creativity, unified in our purpose for positive change. I have always believed in the power of creativity, but we were still in need of a connected global community, a platform for all voices to be honored and to be heard. Thus, Writers for Rights was born.
Great, so let’s talk business. Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
Writers for Rights is an international literary organization utilizing the power of storytelling to illuminate global issues and ignite action for sustainable change.
We publish a bi-monthly literary magazine focused around a specific global cause, then we utilize the magazine subscriptions to fund partnerships with other nonprofits to make change for the issues addressed in the writings. We are solution-oriented, forward-focused and determined to honor as many different perspectives on as many different causes as possible.
The first Writers for Rights magazine was for ocean & environment conservation in partnership with 4ocean, Save the Reef, and the Coral Gardeners. Our second issue, focused for immigration and the refugee crisis, featured writers from Guinea Conakry, Germany, Russia, The United States, Turkey, Tanzania, Guatemala, and more.
I think of Writers for Rights as avant garde journalism. We present current issues through submitted storytelling, poetry, photography, and art to bring awareness and perspectives, while connecting the reader with the cause on a deeper, emotional level.
And, we don’t stop on the page. Writers can choose to join the WFR Literary Society or WFR Literary Guild to access ongoing publication opportunities, Society and Guild events, interviews and discussions, and workshops with trailblazing activists and industry leaders such as MoMA artist James Victore, and Academy Award-winning screenwriter Nick Vallelonga (Green Book, 2018).
We are something like a writers room, a book club, a peace corps, and a publishing house — all in one inspiring, connected community. We are a new global movement, here to rewrite our world’s narrative.
Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Launching a new international nonprofit organization and running a magazine on my own in between full time work and incessant writing deadlines definitely has its challenges, but I’m learning a great deal from all of them. If I could request one invention right now to help, it would be a timepiece that provided more than 24 hours in the day.
Many of us wait and wait for the moment we feel like we have time to do what we love or dream of, like its something someone will hand on a platter. I’m often asked how I had time to complete a novel while working three jobs to put myself through full-time college, and how I do it all now. I never have time. I make time. Because I feel so grateful to have the freedom to choose to work hard for my dreams, to work hard to make an impact. Time is racing, and I don’t want to use another second of it waiting or wishing. Many nights are sleepless, but no matter how bleary-eyed those nights are, they are filled with passion and purpose.
Can you talk to us a bit about happiness and what makes you happy?
IDEAS! It doesn’t matter how exhausted I am or what is going on around me, if even a spark of a story ignites in my mind, or if someone starts conceiving of story ideas around me… suddenly I’m awake, I’m alive, I’m in love. Ideas ground me in the present because they draw from, taste, and sense every fiber of the moment while, more than anything, ideas give so much hope for all that can be. Life becomes endlessly possible, endlessly exciting, with the birth and growth of ideas.
Collaborating with other creatives and bringing the ideas to life in an impactful way is another level of happiness, and that’s why I’m so, so happy to invite all creatives and world-changers to join me with Writers for Rights.
- WFR Magazine Subscription: $5/mo
- WFR Literary Society Membership: $15/mo
- WFR Literary Guild Membership: $25/mo