“When the social worker came, I lied, I said ‘we don’t get beaten, we don’t have those issues.’ We were trained, whatever happens in the house, stays in the house.” At thirteen, Sixto, in the foster care system since eleven months old, was dealing with abuse from his adopted mother. Bruises were hidden beneath hair and racial slurs cut deep.
While effects of trauma often stay with young people for life, some, like Sixto, turn those situations into mechanisms for change. He started to record the abuse he experienced, and in turn found his voice and his ability to advocate for himself. This was the key to his success – building a way out for himself.
When he finally left his abusive home and re-entered the foster care system, he got involved with his case plan. Finishing out his remaining years in the system Sixto learned about and took advantage of all the resources available to him. He aged out while finishing up his last year of college in Virginia.
This passion for lifting up the often voiceless become his rallying cry. Among many other achievements, including being part of the Clinton Global Initiative University, Sixto started an online video platform, Think Of Us, designed to give young people a place to discover their rights and learn how they can advocate for themselves.
This is his journey.
This video was produced by The Storyboard Project, an online documentary web-series created by Mira Zimet and Eric Weintraub.