Between COVID-19 and the widely publicized incidents of police brutality in the U.S., the summer of 2020 was highly charged. We reached out to young people with systems experience across the country to see what they were thinking about and what their experiences had been when it comes to racism and policing in America. These are their stories.

Youth Voice writer Tatiana Lemire offers advice on resources for foster youth interested in pursuing college.


Our Whole System Must Change

I took interest in social justice after being exposed to protesting. I was only 15 years old in 2016 when Philando Castile was murdered by the police during a routine traffic stop in my city.

Foster Youth Are Not Pawns for a Pro-Life Agenda


When the Thin Blue Line Breaks: Racial Divide in America

From a young age, we are taught that the men in blue are our friends, protectors and allies. We put our faith and trust into the familiar uniforms that are responsible for our collective and individual safety and find solace in knowing that they will be there when we need them.


Abolishing the Police Is Not the Answer

This year, 2020, has been hard for everyone; between coronavirus and fighting for equality, the world hasn’t had a moment to stop and breathe. Without a doubt, this year has been full of tragedy and sorrow as the number of lives lost continues to grow.


I Have Never Known Life Without Police Brutality

One of the most impactful experiences with police brutality for me is intertwined in generational trauma. My mother, who suffers from bipolar and schizophrenia, was in her late teens or early twenties and having a manic episode.

From Incarcerated to Resilient


My Human Rights Were Stripped

Racism, sexism and police brutality have been a constant in my life. I remember from a very young age the cops would harass me, constantly trying to find any reason to make an arrest. 

Improving Mental Health Services From Within the Foster Care System


Racism is a Familiar Fear

Racism and inequality have plagued this nation for hundreds of years. Racism here in the South is a familiar fear. Racism and discrimination exist in the education system, in the health care system when Black mothers don’t receive proper care, sports when our Black bodies are looked at as only tokens to win games, in shopping centers when my darker-skinned brothers are followed from entry to exit, in the prison system when mass incarceration and false charges usually apply to African-Americans, rather than Caucasians, in employment when my name could determine whether I get called for the interview or not. 


Real Power is Within Us

“I can’t breathe” are the words uttered by George Floyd, Eric Garner and many other individuals whose lives who have been taken, stolen, by those charged with the duty to “protect and serve.”


In My Community, You Don’t Call the Cops

Although I now live in Harlem, I grew up in Ridgewood, New York, a small, immigrant neighborhood where the adults often left the children to fend for themselves as they ventured into the city for work.


Protesting Matters

I have always dealt with racial inequality and police harassment. When I was 15 I used to have blue hair, and my foster sister had red hair. One day the police rolled up on us and told us – didn’t even say hi, just told us – what gangs we were from.


My First Experience with Cops

I grew up in Bakersfield, Calif. as a foster child, youth, and young adult. Being that I grew up in foster care I was not always shown the right path, so I was susceptible to making bad friends.