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Meet Jamall Lewis Jr.: Providing a Platform for Youth to Share Their Stories

“With no hidden agenda, we move the culture forward by telling people’s stories.” That is the tagline of The Blindspot, an interviewing platform dreamed up by Jamall Lewis Jr., a partner of Buffalo Futures, which is an initiative of the Racial Equity Roundtable’s Youth Employment Coalition. “I want to create a safe space for people in our community to be able to not only tell their stories, but to thrive in that space of communication,” said Jamall.

As a graduate of Alfred University, where he is currently employed the University’s advancement office while working toward his Master’s degree, Jamall describes himself as a “storyteller by trade.” He is dedicated to giving back to his community and most importantly, to being a role model to his 16-year-old twin sisters, who are the motivation for everything he does.

In 2023, Jamall was introduced to Jerrell Mason, Senior Director of Buffalo Futures, while volunteering at a backpack giveaway event. “Jerrell taught me about Buffalo Futures and how it offers wraparound support for youth age of 16 to 24, and I love and believe in what they have going on,” Jamall said.

Jamall wanted to get involved with Buffalo Futures and soon joined its Youth Advisory Council. “I currently sit on the Council and help make decisions in regards to putting on events or how we actually create ideas that will relate to, or at least convert to, wraparound support for youth,” Jamall explained. In February 2024, the council hosted the Black Love Poetry Slam event, a celebration for Black History Month and an opportunity for the community to support youth through art and cultural events.

Jamall also channels his journalism experience into doing the Buffalo Futures Getting Ahead Podcast with other members of the Buffalo Futures team, and has quickly become intertwined with the initiative in other ways.

“Buffalo Futures has put different opportunities for grant funding in front of me, as well as different opportunities to grow my platform,” Jamall explained. For example, he applied for a grant from the National Youth Employment Coalition’s 2024 Youth Action Hour, and was one of just four winners nationwide.

The National Youth Employment Coalition is a nonprofit membership network that fosters synergy among organizations across the country and amplifies their impact through capacity building, policy work, and youth leadership. The award committee was extremely impressed by Jamall’s project and his mission to lift up the voices of those who commonly go unheard.

Jamall will use the grant to grow his passion project, Blindspot, including focusing on the business realm of it.

Although he has done more than 60 interviews since its launch, Jamall said he is also eager to upgrade his equipment to better lift up the voices of under or misrepresented people.

“I haven’t had a camera, I haven’t had the right mics, and I haven’t had the right setup, so I’m going to use the grant funding to do that,” he said.

As he looks to the future, Jamall also hopes that Blindspot evolves into an entertaining and informational talk show, with an additional docuseries component, as he continues to help Western New Yorkers shine. “I want to be a light for the community,” Jamall said.