The youth-written stories in Represent give inspiration and information to teens in foster care while offering staff insight into those teens’ struggles.

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Inspiring Change—In Ourselves, and in Others
Represent staff

Represent magazine does not shy away from grief. Involvement with the child welfare system generally means things have gone badly, and we pride ourselves on telling the truth about how teens move through loss and trauma. Often, in the telling of their story, writers find their power, whether it’s through speaking up about abuse and getting moved to a safer home, advocating for themselves with their agency, or finding a therapist to trust.

These are essential first steps, but sometimes teens take their healing and advocacy even further. In this issue, we highlight stories of teens who seized control of some aspect of their lives and made a big difference, for themselves and sometimes for others as well.

Advocacy and activism is the path for Demetria Mack, who helped start a Black Lives Matter group in her school and figured out how to work selflessly for change over the long haul, just like her forebears in the civil rights movement. Another writer tells a shocking tale of high school sexism in “Frozen Out of the Trading Club.” She comes up with a very proactive solution. Elvia Victorio describes how she and her family have experienced discrimination as Mexicans. Elvia shows us the hard-working immigrants who create rodeos every weekend in the photos she takes as her weekend job.

Represent interviewed ACS Commissioner David Hansell about his plans to improve foster care for teens and held a roundtable to discuss what it takes to be an effective activist. Marlo Scott, Precious Sims, and Quotesia Johnson explain their advocacy for other youth in care. And a guest writer from Georgia describes the painful but important process of testifying against her abuser, which lands him in prison.

The stories in this issue together say, “I can make a difference.” We all have more power than we think, including the power to inspire others.

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