Kaream Reid is a current University of Denver Student and the newest member of the Equitas team as of mid-February. Mr. Reid is a valued member of the organization who brings excellence, creativity, and passion to the work. He has extensive experience in legislative advocacy and political activism, founding Community College of Aurora’s first Black Student Association during his time studying film there.
At DU, Kaream is majoring in Finance with a minor in Japanese. In his spare time, he performs martial arts and plays several musical instruments including contra bass, flute, and guitar. Mr. Reid is also the published author of several books.
Get to know Kaream through the interview below!
What do you love most about Colorado?
Anyone who knows me will tell you that I tend to be a complainer when it comes to Colorado, but one thing I can’t deny about this state is the scenery. I absolutely love the skies, the mountains, and the air here. It’s really inspiring to be surrounded by such beauty.
Finance and Japanese are quite different from one another. What first got you interested in studying Japanese and what do you like most about it?
I grew up as a military brat. I moved around a lot, but something positive about that is that I got to experience a variety of different cultures and people. I got interested in anime (Japanese animation) as a kid, and when I had the opportunity to start learning Japanese in high school, I was probably the happiest teen alive. Japanese is so different from English, which is probably the thing I like most about it (usually). It’s so fun to learn a different language because it opens up your mind in ways you could never imagine and gives you a sense of community. Even when I’m struggling to understand a certain concept or remember a particular word, I think about the connections I’ve already made with other people through this language, and I’m inspired to keep pushing.
What interested you about working with Equitas?
The social justice work was what initially caught my eye. And then I saw the mental health aspect, and I thought, “This is perfect.” The thought of working in the field of two things I am very passionate about was so exciting.
What types of projects will you be working on?
We are getting ready to ramp up our #CareNotCuffs campaign, which is pushing to change the way first responders deal with crisis calls around the nation. We’ve seen the effects of over-incarceration, and we know that there are ways to improve the system. So I’m excited about that.
At this time, what your goals for after you graduate DU?
I would like to move to New York City and work for Sony. It’s a company that covers a lot of my interests (finance, Japanese, film), and I’ve always felt content when I visited New York. I think I’ll like living there.
Who or what inspires you?
I have a lot of people in my life who inspire me. One of my best friends, Ari, immediately comes to mind. She is such a strong, kind, person, and it is inspiring to see someone who can be tough and compassionate.
What are you currently reading or watching?
Not enough! I’m always in the middle of some show or book or video game, but I just recently finished the 3rd season of “13 Reasons Why” (and I only cried once), and I want to start reading Steven King’s The Outsider before I start watching the show.
You have done some political activist work in the past, in a number of different areas. What was your biggest takeaway from those experiences and what advice would you give to someone interested in becoming more involved?
My biggest takeaway from my political and activist work is that it is critical to be in a constant state of reflection. What are you trying to do? How are you trying to do it? What are the consequences of taking a stand—and are they consequences that you can accept? Activism is hard, frustrating work. You’re always fighting an uphill battle, and it can be exhausting trying to change the status quo in the face of people who simply don’t care about things remaining the same. You have to be fierce and strategic, and, frankly, you have to care. You’re not in it for yourself; you’re in it for a higher purpose, a purpose that sometimes you yourself won’t get to see.
My advice for anyone who wants to get more involved: Drop your ego. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement and attention of ‘fighting the power,’ but, again, it’s not about you specifically. Dedicate yourself to walking that fine line of self-care and selflessness, and I promise you your experiences will be that much more meaningful. You’ll learn to appreciate the quieter moments, the hardships, the uncertainty, the big wins, the big losses, the mundane necessities—the humanity of it all—and you’ll be a stronger person for it.
You have produced many creative works throughout your life so far. What is your favorite medium currently and what medium have you most extensively used to express yourself in the past?
I have always been a writer, so it’s the medium I feel most comfortable with, and I always gravitate to it when I feel emotionally or mentally disorganized. Recently though, I have been getting back into playing my instruments (double bass and flute) as a way to escape from all the current Corona craziness.
Three things you can’t live without?
Good food, Nintendo’s Super Smash Brothers (video game), and a sense of humor.
This interview was edited for clarity.