At 16, Wei moved from China to Philadelphia where he experienced racial violence at his school. He quickly learned he wasn’t the only target and that a culture of violence prevailed at the school with no support from administrators. So he began organizing students with the goal of getting school staff to take responsibility for the safety of all students.
He organized a boycott with over 100 students and filed a civil rights complaint to the Department of Justice. Wei’s actions resulted in replacing the principal, new policies on harassment, and staff trainings in bias. Wei and his fellow protesters also won their civil rights complaint, which mandates schools are responsible for protecting their students from racial violence. Wei believes the most important result was the change students experienced. He says, “When we first marched to the School District to protest school violence, some students covered their faces because they were afraid. But now we don’t cover our faces. We were once victims; now we are organizers.”
Growing up a member of the LGBTQ community in North Carolina, Brennan saw firsthand the difficulties and feelings of isolation that LGBTQ youth can endure in a heteronormative environment. And while Brennan was very fortunate to have a loving support system in their family and friends, they saw others who weren’t as lucky. So with a strong sense of compassion, Brennan and a friend took action and courageously created QueerNC.
Grace is a cancer survivor who learned, through giving away clothing that didn’t fit her post-treatment, that anyone and everyone can help brighten the day of their neighbor. The girls who received Grace’s donation had just moved into a homeless housing complex and were thrilled to be getting new clothes for school. After hearing what a difference her donation made in their day, Grace wanted to help other children who were going through tough times.
After watching her best friend and sister endure bullying and witnessing the devastating effects that it can have on them, Jasmine decided it was time someone created an outlet to promote compassion and tolerance among young women.
Growing up, Xiuhtezcatl’s father emphasized his obligation to taking care of the land – a privilege and responsibility that, in a world ravaged by climate change, he does not take lightly. He has been on the front lines of the fight for the environment since he was four, attending and leading rallies and summits, always willing to confront adult leaders for the current climate crisis we see today.
2.7 million young people in the US have an incarcerated parent, and statistics show that they are more likely to drop out of high school and go to jail themselves because of it. Yasmine is one of those 2.7 million; she has experienced firsthand the financial and emotional burdens, and the marginalization that a family goes through as a result. And through building a meaningful relationship with her incarcerated parent, by forgiving him, she was motivated to do something to support her peers and help them find their own peace of mind and end this cycle of incarceration.
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