Student in focus: Karma Griggs, racial justice advocate


Karma Griggs

Karma Griggs (‘23) created a video on Black students’ experience with microaggression. This video was presented to the entire student body during the Martin Luther King Jr. Assembly. Featuring faculty and student experiences, Karma’s video has spread awareness and made an impact on the Webb community.

Karma Griggs (‘23) has spent over a year working on a microaggression video that was presented to all Webb students during the Martin Luther King Jr. Assembly. You may have seen Karma around campus carrying a camera and interviewing students and teachers. All that effort went into the production of a video to educate students about the microaggressions that occur daily.  

On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the Black Student Union informed students of several historical Black activists and their work. Following their speech, Karma showed a video on microaggressions toward Black people, which featured members of the community, focusing on Black students and teachers’ experiences. Karma, who learned advanced filming techniques and ways to emphasize important content from Ardina Greco, Fine Arts Department Faculty, impressed the entire student body. 

Coming from a middle school with a majority Black and Mexican population, Karma felt isolated her freshman year at Webb. She did not know who to talk to or if anyone else shared similar experiences regarding microaggressions. Karma eventually found comfort in the Black Student Union, where she found other Black students with similar experiences.  

At the Black Affinity group meeting members asked the incoming freshman, “How has this new year been for you so far?” Students talked about microaggressions committed against them, which is exactly what Karma had experienced in her freshman year. 

“The stuff that I was hearing from the students was like the same exact stuff that was happening to me freshman year, like teachers overlooking a racist incident, or language use in the classroom that’s uncomfortable,” Karma said. “And when in Foundations of Civilizations, the teacher would bring up slavery, and everyone in the class looks at you. Just small stuff like that that we could all relate to.” 

After finding a common problem, Karma also wanted to take action. 

“We could keep on talking and agreeing with each other, but it is not going to change unless we do something about it,” Karma said. “And the way to stop this stuff from happening is to make this behavior unacceptable in the community.” 

Karma proposed an idea for a video about microaggressions but had a hard time getting started, so she went to Anthony Flucker, Fine Arts Department Faculty. Mr. Flucker tried his best to help Karma from a distance because it would be her big filming debut. Instead of getting involved, he gave Karma some tips and let her take action. Mr. Flucker also compared filmmaking to painting, something Karma felt greatly simplified her thinking process.  

“It is exactly like a painting,” said Mr. Flucker. “Whenever I find that someone has a connection to another art form, I try to connect it to what they’re familiar with.”  

After talking to Mr. Flucker, Karma started creating her outline and got to work.  

“I spent the second semester of junior year recording interviews. I interviewed 20 to 25 students, teachers, and faculty,” Karma said. “I included maybe 5 or 7 teachers and students from these.” 

After going home for the summer, Karma devoted much of her time to working on the video. She watched about 20 hours of YouTube videos on how to edit, what techniques to use, and how to make different effects, and she constantly went to her mom to talk about her process. She went through ten drafts; the first draft was 15 minutes long because she felt like everyone’s story mattered and wanted to include every interview.  She ended up shortening it to around 8 minutes because it would be most impactful if the video could effectively hold the attention of her audience.  

“I thought it was a very insightful and important video for the student body,” said Izzy Kim (‘24). “I don’t think a lot of students were aware of the amount of microaggressions and race-related instances that happen around campus.” 

Once Karma shortened the video and made her final edits, she presented it at the Martin Luther King Jr. Assembly, hoping it would inspire other affinities and students to speak up about their experience. 

“I want them to take away that if you are experiencing something that’s uncomfortable even if its subtle racism, being bullied, discriminated against in any way you’re not alone,” Karma said. 

This video has inspired awareness and conversations around a topic that is normally silenced. Karma wishes to make Webb a safer and more inclusive space for all students. As Karma prepares to embark on a new chapter in her journey, she hopes that other Webb students will continue her work in standing up for what they believe in and making Webb a welcoming community for all.