Tonny St. James is the Youth Policy Advisor at Lens Co. Tonny was born and raised in Kigali, Rwanda. In 2017, he moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in fashion and culinary arts. But after struggling with homelessness and immigration issues, Tonny shifted his focus to advocating for young people facing homelessness. He has been an advocate since 2018, most recently leading the Young People To The Front Podcast, among other initiatives. In this episode, Tonny tells us about going to a U.S. boarding school in Africa, the peace and reconciliation process in Rwanda with respect to the 1994 genocide there, the complications of immigrating to the U.S. as a queer Black person, his thoughts on “transplants to L.A.,” and much more in a convo that inspires us, makes us laugh, and energizes us. You can keep up with Tonny through his new Aliens, InC organization.
To make a one-time donation to my fundraiser for the 9th anniversary of JIMBO TIMES, please do so through jmbtms.com. To support the production of J.T. the L.A. Storyteller Podcast, please check out my PATREON.