If you’re a student or just out of school: Why they’re part of the Task Force, why they’re committed to helping to build it and why they think it’s important.

After attending my first AAJA National Convention last year, I witnessed firsthand the power and influence in banding together over a common cause. I was inspired by the number of people dedicated to promoting the Asian-American presence in newsrooms. Some had contributed to the cause for years, if not decades. The message was clear: while there is still much to be done, AAJA has come a long way in its mission since its infancy. It may not have been easy, but through the commitment and persistence of the pioneers of the group, AAJA had blossomed into an entity that could offer a young aspiring journalist a haven of support moving forward.

It is that fundamental belief in a young cause I care about that I joined the Sports Task Force. Like AAJA as a whole did roughly 35 years ago, the STF is simply trying to get off the ground; to garner recognition and show a skeptical larger audience that there is an interest and there are committed members and the STF deserves a presence at the AAJA Convention. I attended the inaugural STF meeting because I have always been very passionate about two things: sports and journalism. The notion of bringing that together had always seemed idealistic but not entirely realistic for an Asian-American. There weren’t many success stories as examples to model.

I was blown away by the STF. The standing-room only crowd demonstrated the firm and powerful support this cause would have. I chatted with the few examples of Asian-Americans who were wildly successful at venturing into the world of sports journalism. I met peers who were similarly interested and encouraged by the support. I was inspired. I felt that the STF could function as the interest group promoting a cause I believed in that had been sorely missing. I want to contribute to the progress the STF has made claiming its stake as part of AAJA because I am sure if given its opportunity, it can continue to inspire young journalists interested in sports. It can continue to provide imperative support system for those journalists; much like AAJA did for all journalists over three decades ago.

Though still in its infancy, the Sports Task Force got off to a fast start at its inaugural meeting at the 2014 AAJA Convention in Washington D.C. Attendees ranging from intrigued students to veteran sports journalists filled the room to the point of capacity. The talk was real. Students expressed their prior reservations about the feasibility of such a career but also their encouragement from seeing a group dedicated to supporting that endeavor. Veterans offered their full support to the cause. They collaborated and brainstormed ideas to move the ball down the field.