A roundup of The Imprint’s most impactful stories in 2020
The year 2020 is almost over and what a year it has been! Several issues and events sparked major outrage and discussions about how those issues affect those who have experienced foster care, homelessness and juvenile incarceration around the world. As the year comes to end, we’re sharing our favorite pieces that reflect our youth voice writers’ experiences.
Lead Youth Voice Reads:
We kick this countdown off with a personal reflection from our very own Youth Voice Program Manager, Raquel Wilson, as she shares her experiences dealing with police and racism while in foster care: Who Will Police Us From the Police?
One of our very own Youth Voice Contributors, who is from Minnesota, shares a powerful piece about police brutality after George Floyd’s death sparked outrage: Our Whole System Must Change.
Kenyon Whitman and Demontea Thompson speak about how “Being Black in Foster Care Means Surviving an American Nightmare.” They remind us that history has continued to show time after time that Black men don’t matter. Read about their perspectives here: Being Black in Foster Care Means Surviving An American Nightmare.
Alexis Obinna brings us another powerful piece about the challenges she has had dealing with the coronavirus pandemic and the lack of resources for struggling foster youth. Listen to how she refuses to give up in the midst of hardship: Flourishing Before Floundering.
One of the participants in our journalism workshop with Liberty Hill Foundation in Los Angeles wrote a captivating piece about being a member of the LGBTQ community but being fearful to express himself openly as a Christian. This opportunity provided R (name withheld to protect his identity) an open space to inspire others to simply not be afraid of who they are: I Had to Hide My Personality Due to Fear.
Bianca (last name withheld to protect her identity) shares her truth about being a former foster youth and the obstacles many face when having to move from placement to placement. Often feeling embarrassed, she shares what it is like to grow up in such circumstances where you feel you have zero identity and it’s easier to pretend than face realities, which are often harsh: Liar, Liar, Life on Fire.
Other Youth Voice Reads:
Here’s another powerful piece from former foster youth Gabriel Harding about the struggles of dealing with family (or lack thereof) while being in foster care. He highlights how he had family who only wanted to take care of him to manipulate the system. Read about his rough childhood and his plans to be a better family man when he starts one: For Foster Youth, Family Can Bring Both Love and Disappointment.
Read about Aliyah Zeien and her experiences dealing with the coronavirus pandemic while still being affected by the disasters of Hurricane Katrina. She shares a personal reflection on how the pandemic has affected her career as a social worker and triggered her experiences while in care: We Haven’t Been This Afraid Since Hurricane Katrina.
Jevon Wilkes wrote a strong piece about the unheard voices during the pandemic – youth who are homeless, those being trafficked, and those involved in the foster care and juvenile justice systems. With his efforts, Wilkes hopes this piece will encourage others who advocate for these youth, to advocate a little harder to ensure they’re not left out of state funding and resources: The Pandemic You Know, And the One You Don’t.
Lastly, we bring to you an influential piece from Gabbie Rodriguez who reflects on the lack of police presence in her community and the fear she experienced firsthand. Read how Rodriguez plans to use her career as an educator to flourish the minds and development of her future students: In My Community, You Don’t Call the Cops.
Look forward to 2021 as our Youth Voice program continues to teach young people how to use the power of journalism and media to lead the conversation about children, youth and families in America. Join our new monthly youth voice newsletter list to stay up to date and to find out about opportunities for youth all across the country.