Thanks to YWLL, I found the confidence I needed to pursue my dream of hosting my own TV show (video to the right)
YWLL is discussed at 16:17 with fellow YWLL attendee Carol Frye and myself, Colleen Visnic!
— Colleen Visnic, BCTV Host of Branford Future Stars
Everyone talks about Flint, but water and air poisoning is happening in New Haven, too. In fact it’s happening all over the world in poor, black neighborhoods.” I don’t remember her name, but I can picture her face. While we talked about politics in the Future President session, she frustratedly relayed what she experienced in one of the poorer parts of this city which we both call home. Having lived in New Haven for eighteen years, I had done my research. I have both my qualms and my undeniable adorations for the Model City, but in this specific moment I realized - yet again - my omnipresent privilege. Both of us grew up in the New Haven area, but she had seen and heard firsthand horrors of the city that I blindly ignored. I was struck by a series of emotions. First anger - at the city for letting such dangers affect its children, and then at myself for being ignorant. Next sadness - for the millions of children around the world who are the victims of racism and corruption. And finally, empowerment. The voice of one woman whom I very well may never see again reshaped my focus of social justice. From her I learned that social issues must be confronted in our own backyards - where they are ubiquitous - so they never reach the level of the Flint water crisis and the like. The privileged must lift up the voices of the oppressed to hear their cries and join their fight. I learned that women can and should empower other women to achieve the greatness which we are too often denied. Change is enacted by the courage to speak and the humility to listen. With determination for unity, equity and success can be brought to all corners of society - let it begin with you.
— Sophia Cappello, YWLL 2016 Essay Contest Winnter