In light of the sweeping effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and protests for racial justice, we have created a space for young people to share their experiences. All too often the youth voice is not heard, especially when it needs to be heard the most. Our new blog series aims to highlight youth stories and voices throughout the pandemic and protests. In keeping with our mission to empower youth, the series is entirely about youth in the Philadelphia area. Through stories written about youth and guest writer submissions, we hope this series will give voice to children and young adults who are serving their communities and finding ways to navigate the current challenges.

Guest Writer Spotlight: “Cup Foods, MN”

by Guest Writer, Ava Szalay, 14 years old, Philadelphia

 

“All lives can’t matter until black lives do”
The words Cup Foods hang above our heads and flowers dot the street
George, I among others will fight for you

 

Words, names of others killed written in rainbow hues
And fists proclaiming justice exfoliated with Minnesotan heat
“All lives can’t matter until black lives do”

 

Even today, the years of oppression still stick like glue
A black person being treated fairly shouldn’t merely be a special treat
“All lives can’t matter until black lives do”

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Former Student Rep. is Fighting for the Future

by Dayanna Shomo, Rebel Ventures’ High School Communications Specialist

 

When the quarantine began in March, students were displaced from their normal routines, including Doha Ibrahim, then a Philadelphia Student Representative. In this role, she spoke on behalf of students in the Philadelphia School District, relaying their concerns and opinions to the Philadelphia Board of Education.

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Young Entrepreneur’s Work in the Midst of Protests and COVID-19

by Alisa Ghura, Rebel Ventures’ College Communications Mentor

 

In light of the recent protests sparked by the unjustified deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless others, young entrepreneur Jonathan Williams’ commitment to supporting his community has come into stark relief. 

 

Jonathan Williams, 23, first started his business Chestnut Hill Cleaning at the age of 16. He was having a hard time finding a job and decided to start removing snow for local families with his friends to make money. One day while out doing snow removal, he had an idea: he could start his own business. “I used to read Forbes a lot,” Jonathan joked, “and they always talked about starting your own business.”

 

“Worst comes to worst, it doesn’t work out,” he thought, but “I may as well give it a shot and see what happens.” Jonathan bought business cards and started handing them out while doing snow removal, mentioning that people could call him for snow removal or different types of cleaning…

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Guest Writer Spotlight: A Day at a Time

by Anonymous Guest Writer, 15-year-old, South Philadelphia

 

The past few months have been full of challenges and changes. The normal is abnormal. As an only child, staying at home hasn’t been so easy. I’m social, community-oriented, and enjoy sports, so at first, finding ways to stay active at home wasn’t easy. For a while, I entertained myself with exercises trending all over social media, which weren’t bad at all. Now, I volunteer in South Philly, with organizations and alliances like the World Central Kitchen. Three to four days a week I volunteer to help supply food to families who lost their income due to COVID, like mine. My family has been severely affected by the pandemic, but thankfully we’ve been able to find assistance. For example, I’ve applied to the Philadelphia Rental assistance program, which I learned about from helping other families navigate through their own online applications….

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If you would like to share your story for the COVID-19 Blog Series, please fill out this form or email us at communications@rvcrew.com.