Brower Youth Awards

Ryan Camero

Stockton, CA

Using creative storytelling to chronicle a fragile delta and the communities that surround it

Ryan Camero’s hometown of Stockton, CA has its share of social challenges — poverty, violence, and drug abuse to name a few. To make sense of these challenges, Camero began looking at organizations that were building resilience in Stockton. In 2010 He started volunteering with Restore the Delta, a grassroots group committed to restoring the Sacramento-San Joaquin delta which is significant for its ecological and agricultural value. Camero’s work with the group, where he’s now officially employed, helped him understand the trials of a community facing both a drought and water privatization. Meanwhile, his interest in storytelling through art connected him to the Beehive Collective, an activist art collective. In 2014, with the help of information and resources from Restore the Delta and Food and Water Watch, Camero helped conceptualize and create an interactive presentation that drew parallels between corporate efforts to privatize California’s water and peoples’ struggles against large-scale infrastructure projects throughout Mesoamerica. The presentation, called “Sucked Dry” included intricate graphics created by the Beehive Collective. Last fall, Camero led a three-week tour, travelling to 18 California cities, presenting Sucked Dry to local audiences and facilitating discussions about the fragile Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta ecosystem.

Camero’s understanding of the intersectional relationship between social, environmental, and economic inequities continues to guide his role as a cross-pollinator as he creates collaborations across organizations and groups with unique missions yet common goals.