When Matthew Kaplan’s brother was being bullied in middle school, Matthew was convinced that those who were bullied did not fully realize the consequences of their actions; they often used technology and were able to separate themselves from the damage they were causing. As a result, Matthew saw his brother struggle and retreat into himself; he knew he needed to take action for his brother and other young people like him.
When Imani Henry was younger, she struggled with reading. She was eventually diagnosed with a birth-defect that made it hard for her to see and caused severe pain, contributing to her difficulties with reading. Following the diagnosis, she started to receive additional support from male mentors and soon became an avid reader. After this experience, Imani decided she wanted to give back.
Eli Erlick came out as a transgender girl at the age of eight, and she has felt the effects of transphobia ever since. For six years, Eli felt lost and alone; she had no one and no resources available to tell her otherwise. So when she learned there were other young people like her, feeling just as isolated, Eli knew she had to take action.
Amit Dodani struggled with a speech impediment, which led to bullying from his peers. But instead of feeling defeated, Amit took the time to examine his experiences and realized it was a lack of empathy that allowed for his peers’ negative actions. He then joined a debate club, overcame his speech impediment, and began sharing his story.
Amanda Matos is proud of her identity as a young woman of color, but she understands the challenges she and other women like her face; growing up, Amanda experienced her share of racism and sexism. So, using her education and unique understanding of the injustices women of color face, Amanda decided to take action.