Finding a Voice: A story of senior Steven Kobby Lartey’s quiet determination to fight injustice

The Ithacan has chosen a select group of student journalists to take part in an out-of-class workshop aimed at developing and sophisticating their writing to raise it to a new, more narrative level. I am one of the members of this group. We’ll call it Fight Club. Our first assignment was to find a subject for a profile. We would then speak to them in-depth about their lives, spending as much time with them as possible. There was no word-count limits, and deadlines were semi-negotiable — the minimum was a month.

It only took me a few moments to think of the perfect person: Senior Steven Kobby Lartey.

I first experienced Kobby when I attended a demonstration/protest on the Ithaca College campus back in December 2014. While Kobby was not exactly the leader or sole focal person in the rally, he had a way of addressing an audience and articulating his thoughts in a manner I had never seen from a college student. Every word was well chosen and had weight to it. There was no rambling, no asides. He knew how to evoke emotions. Once I began my interviews, it became clear that this was a common thread among everyone who knew him: He just has a certain something.

The finished product, all 4,600 words of it, can be seen on The Ithacan’s website, along with our new format for long-form, narrative stories.

Overall, I’m really happy with the finished product. Kobby was great to work with, probably the best I could have asked for. One question, and he’d open up completely within moments, something I needed for the piece to turn out the way it did. It’s also been receiving great feedback around campus, even though it just came out this morning. Hopefully that will continue once I hear back from the people at Choate Rosemary Hall; I emailed them the story as well.

At least one more narrative-style piece will come from me before the semester is over. I have a few ideas floating around for it, but nothing set in stone yet. It’ll all work out though, it always does.

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