Roxane Gay has used writing as a means to untangle and communicate her own trauma since childhood. Now a successful author, professor and mentor to many, she advises young women and aspiring writers on how to harness their voices. Gay shares her Brief But Spectacular take on effective ways of being heard.

Duration: 3:42

Columbia University professor Farah Jasmine Griffin was deeply troubled by the political turmoil happening across the U.S. during the 2016 presidential campaign. She began writing a literary memoir, "Read Until You Understand," which explores what democracy means for the lives and work of Black authors and activists, and herself. Here's her Brief But Spectacular take on Black life and literature.

Duration: 3:34

Michelle Sugihara is the executive director at the Coalition of Asian Pacifics in Entertainment (CAPE) and has long been a champion for Asian representation both on and off the screen. As part of our arts and culture series, CANVAS, Sugihara shares her "brief but spectacular" take on changing the world through stories.

Duration: 3:28

Muslim women in the U.S. experience discrimination in many aspects of their lives, including health care. Sahar Pirzada has made it the mission of her work at a national nonprofit to fight the medical mistreatment Muslim women experience. She gives her brief but spectacular take on why gendered Islamophobia matters in the larger conversation around reproductive justice.

Duration: 3:31