humanist / storyteller / videographer
On his father
"My dad fought in Vietnam. I don't when he finally snapped, but at one point he just put his gun down and said, "enough. I'm not going to do this anymore." It really changed him. How could it not? He was brought up Catholic like pretty much every Italian. And after the war he just lost his faith you know? Because of that I wasn't brought up in the church or in any type of religion."
"I don't really believe in religion. Religion at its core suppresses personal life experience that you may need to determine where to go next. And I don't believe that's helpful. With each decision we make, we can get close to our heart, the source of what makes us innately good. I believe in being spiritual and in meditating as a way to get better in tune with yourself.
That isn't to say that church is bad or not useful, I just wish they would talk more about practical things like decision-making. Why not spend time talking about the effects of consumption and addiction? Addiction isn't just drugs, people can be addicted to fast food, for example, and that can kill them just the same."
On large groups
"It's not just religion. Honestly being in large groups of predominantly anything makes me feel uncomfortable. When I went to the Women's March I remember just seeing this sea of white people. Which is interesting given that the organizers were people of color, but regardless it was uncomfortable for me. I grew up in subsidized housing in a mixed neighborhood, that's where I feel most comfortable. I went to a church with an old friend and it was mostly a mixed race population and I found it so beautiful.
I just think I have different opinions than most and you really have to be careful what you associate yourself with. Groups where everyone looks the same, can just become an echo chamber you know? Groups with real diversity (ethnic, socio-economic, ideological) generally have less of that issue, but its still a concern."
On New Haven
"I've been working here as a filmmaker/creative since 2009 and living here since 2011. Fresh out of college I got a job at Youth Rights Media as a media coordinator. My job was to teach young people advocacy through visual tools like the camera.
New Haven has a long history of advocacy. In a way it's like a grassroots church. It protects those that need it. For example, no matter your legal status, you can get a municipal identification card, which allows people to be humans where they live. The very word haven means a safe place, and I am proud of how we as a city have created space for sanctuary."
"The stories that we tell are either going to help us expand our existence or limit our possibilities. Stories reveal what it means to be human."
"As I get older, I realize that most people really grew up in all black or all white or all whatever type of neighborhood, that wasn't the case for me. I grew up in a mix neighborhood that was government subsidized.
It was a tight community, an extension of my family. As a kid, it felt like a big party complex. We would play these massive games of manhunt hiding and sprinting through all these little alleyways and cutaways. If not manhunt, then we played Whiffle ball or basketball; there was a hoop at the end of the parking lot. Every day in seventh grade, we played basketball. If it snowed, we'd shovel the ground and then get out there and hoop. If we weren't playing ball, we would be either dodging or throwing rocks at these skunks that were always around. It was silly, but we would see who could outrun everyone else and keep from getting sprayed.
Some families really struggled. People had their struggles for sure. I remember hearing my best friend crying in his bed while his parents were screaming, but it wasn't this like stereotyped bad neighborhood. There wasn't like this crazy gun violence or anything. People there are just trying to live you know?"
"I tell stories because they matter, they are essential. They are everything we need to be human. Stories are the things that help us move through this life because if we don't have a story, we just float in this existence waiting for something to guide us. But if we have a story, something that connects us to a greater purpose, to a greater source.
The stories we identify with are either going to expand our existence or limit our possibilities, so we have to choose wisely."
From Middletown, CT
Lives in New Haven, CT