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Write for Youth Communication: Video
Behind the Scenes: Teen writers describe what it's like to work at YCteen.
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Social Justice (76 found)
Note: These stories are from YCteen and its sister publication, Represent, which is written by and for youth in foster care.
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Sherilyn learns how her habit of littering affects sea life and begins to care about the environment. (full text)
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Like millions of her peers, Julijana was horrified by "Kony 2012," the viral video about Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony. She wonders why many adults weren't similarly moved, and digs deeper into the story behind the video. (full text)
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Otis's mother kicks him out and he ends up in a homeless shelter with much older men who drink, smoke and do drugs. He has a hard time facing the reality of his situation. (full text)
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Roberta writes about her love-hate relationship with the hood. “I hate it because of all the violence, but I’m thankful to it for making me a strong, determined girl." (full text)
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When the writer runs for class vice president, she learns how to accomplish goals as a group, something she’d never done before. In the process she masters the art of compromise. (full text)
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If you think it's a challenge to find healthy food within walking distance of your house or apartment, you're not alone. After doing some research and talking to a few experts, Abi got some suggestions on how to eat well on a budget no matter where you live. (full text)
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After her grandmother’s cooking, laden with pork, grease and oil, leaves her feeling sick to her stomach, this writer decides to start buying some of the groceries. When she tries to get healthier fare in her neighborhood, she discovers it’s a challenge. (full text)
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Roberta used to think feminists were militant protestors that all hated men. Here, she discovers that’s not the case. She explores the definition, history, and comes to her own interpretation. (full text)
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Roberta traces the history of feminism from the first wave in the 1800's to the present. Learn about how women fought for the right to own property, vote, and even go to school. (full text)
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When school budget cuts threaten the yearbook program, the author rallies to save it and discovers her inner activist in the process. (full text)
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Kelly joins her high school's Gay-Straight Alliance. Despite unpleasant reactions from some peers, she participates in annual awareness-raising events. (full text)
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Julieta's passionate Spanish teacher inspires her to learn about Latin America and stand up against injustice.
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Julijana is horrified by "Kony 2012," a video about Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony, and immediately shares the link on Facebook. However, after learning more about the viral video, she wonders if social media is an effective tool for activism. (full text)
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Edward is horrified by the poverty he sees in Haiti when his mother forces him to spend a vacation visiting relatives there. But the experience leaves him with a strong desire to help. (full text)
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This teen-friendly guide to the Occupy Wall Street movement—with accompanying videos—explains the financial inequality that activists are protesting. (full text)
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This teen-friendly guide to the Occupy Wall Street movement—with accompanying videos—explains the financial inequality that activists are protesting. (full text)
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If you think “environmental issues” affect only polar bears and rainforests, think again. In modern life, hazardous chemicals are everywhere. (full text)
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A million more trees in New York City mean cleaner air, lower electricity bills, and happier, healthier residents. (full text)
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Hydraulic fracturing, also known as "fracking," might reduce our dependence on foreign oil. But if it contaminates our drinking water, is it worth it? (full text)
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You can't swim or fish in Brooklyn's polluted canal, but the EPA and a handful of concerned citizens are working hard to clean it up. (full text)
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Hidden hazards in your home could trigger an asthma attack. Find out how to clean up indoor air. (full text)
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As Americans, YCteen writers create more than their share of the world's trash. But there are ways to use less stuff. (full text)
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Chemicals in your shampoo, lotion, deodorant, and even hand sanitizer could be doing more harm than good. (full text)
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Teen activist Hannah Gross explains why she's committed to eliminating the use of harmful chemicals in everyday products—and gives us tips on what we can do to help.
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Teens Turning Green, an environmental organization, warns shoppers not to buy products with certain chemical ingredients. (full text)
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Check out our guide to better understand some of the technical language in this issue. (full text)
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At her karate school, Suzy learns more than self-defense. Her experiences there convince her that women need to stand up for themselves and each other. (full text)
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While Wall St. has recovered from the recession, a lot of low and moderate income workers have lost their jobs permanently. NYC reporters travel to three different neighborhoods (wealthy, moderate income, and poor) to find out on the ground how the recession is affecting people. (full text)
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The recession of 2008-2011 is the latest setback for Marco’s father, an immigrant who hoped to find financial stability when he came to the U.S. 20 years ago. (full text)
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When Antwaun returns to Harlem after living in a safer, more middle class neighborhood in Queens, he realizes how far he's traveled from his roots. (full text)
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Natasha interviews minority teens in the suburbs to explore the relationship between race and success. (full text)
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The writer lives in a poor neighborhood where junk food predominates. (full text)
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Diana feels ashamed that her family is on welfare—until she sees what it’s like to pay bills. (full text)
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Nesshell admires the Anti-Defamation League's message of tolerance. But in attempting to spread this message, she learns that she won't always meet with like-minded people.
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YCteen interviews three experts on race: Rinku Sen, a racial justice activist; Lasana Harris, a neuroscientist who studies how our brains process race; and Dalton Conley, a sociologist and author of the memoir "Honky."
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Olivia issues a call for New York State to reform its juvenile justice system, by fixing underlying problems in impoverished high-crime neighborhoods, and by providing alternatives to incarceration that address the deeper issues, usually untreated in prison, that drive youth to commit crime.
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According to police records, the NYPD stopped 508,540 pedestrians in 2006 for questioning or frisking. The vast majority of those stopped were black or Latino, and 90% weren’t found to be doing anything wrong. Sidebar to previous article.
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Getting stopped by the police is common in minority neighborhoods, but when 50 kids get arrested in Bushwick, Brooklyn just for walking down the street, they decide to take action. Helped by an activist curriculum at their alternative school, they successfully sue the police.
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Outraged by the unfairness of the juvenile justice system, Olivia embarks on a campaign to educate people.
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Marsha joins THEO (Teens Helping Each Other), a peer education project on HIV and STDs.
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Natalie interviews an asthma expert about the causes of the disease and what can be done about it.
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By American standards, Leneli’s relatives in the Philippines are poor; but they’re rich in love and community.
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Pedro crosses the desert into the U.S. to escape dire poverty in Mexico.
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Growing up in the ghetto, Hattie doesn’t know another world exists until she moves to a better neighborhood and realizes she can achieve much more in life.
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Lily feels neglected by her hardworking immigrant parents, until she travels to China and sees the poverty they escaped.
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UPROSE (United Puerto Rican Organization of Sunset Park) organizes youth to fight for social and environmental justice. Youth are trying to prevent construction of a polluting power plant and are pushing for a new park where there's now a garbage-strewn lot.
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Open Road of New York, a nonprofit group, organizes young people to work on environmental improvement projects in the city, such as creating new parks and improving existing ones.
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When she visits her native Pakistan, Maria is appalled by the poverty she sees and decides to become involved in fighting it.
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A lot of students rebel against school by refusing to eat the cafeteria food (which is also associated with poverty), but Kenneth isn't one of them.
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As a U.S. citizen living in Germany, Miranda is torn between sympathy for the widespread anti-Americanism she encounters and defending her country against simplistic stereotypes.
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Sara interviews a Palestinian teen living in Brooklyn.
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Bushwick, Brooklyn, has a reputation for drugs, violence, and crime. Cheryl, armed with census statistics, uncovers the root cause of the problem: most of the residents are poorly-educated and have limited English proficiency, leading to high unemployment and poverty.
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Mohammad’s family is Kurdish, an ethnic group without a country of their own.
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After the violence her family experienced in Albania, Agelta thought life in the U.S. would be simple. But things turn out to be more difficult than she imagined.
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The youth group Make the Road by Walking has lobbied city council representatives to fund a program for homeless teens and a performing arts center for young people.
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At the activist organization Fresh Youth Initiatives (FYI) in the Manhattan neighborhood of Washington Heights, young people help improve conditions by cleaning parks, painting murals, tutoring younger kids, working in a food bank, and doing other community service projects.
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When Dean visits a suburban high school he is shocked to discover clean and quiet classrooms, and a lot of learning going on.
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Melissa describes a board game that teaches teens about the economic injustices that exploit their neighborhoods.
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Renu interviews four teens who have become environmental activists, fighting litter, air pollution, lead poisoning, and other problems in their neighborhoods.
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The Young Lords, an activist Latino group from the ’60s, made people proud to be Puerto Rican.
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A short profile of Harvey Milk, the country’s first openly gay elected official.
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Alison tells how her grandparents barely escaped the Cracow ghetto in Nazi-occupied Poland during World War II.
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Sheila discovers her heritage in Honduras.
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At 14, Hanify joins the Afghanistan resistance and narrowly escapes capture. He hides out for almost two years, then is interrogated by the secret police before a bribe wins his release. He leaves behind his country, family, and friends in coming to the U.S.
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Sheila interviews the brother, mother, and high school coach of a U.S. Marine killed by "friendly fire" in the Persian Gulf war.
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Jeanette lives in East Harlem, a neighborhood plagued by crack and violence. Most of the girls she played tag with are now mothers and a drug-dealing friend was beaten to death, but Jeanette also knows a lot of good, hardworking people who are as ambitious as she is.
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Norma writes about growing up during the civil war in her country, recalling how people lost their lives, dreams, and even their capacity to feel. But not all is well when she comes to the U.S.: she sees fights between ethnic groups and learns the word "racism" for the first time.
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Coney Island, Sheila's neighborhood, is a barren place of housing projects and empty lots, but what makes it different from other "bad" neighborhoods are the beach, boardwalk, and amusement park rides.
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The writer sees the armed forces as his only option to escape an impoverished and embattled neighborhood. (full text)
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Using her own experience, Chimore breaks down how you get employment benefits after you are laid off. (full text)
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Occupy Wall Street marks its one-year anniversary with more protests. This guide explains the financial inequality that activists are protesting. (full text)
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Youth Power! is a peer advocacy group for youth in the foster care, mental health, juvenile justice, and other systems that make people feel stigmatized. (full text)
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Facing severe budget shortfalls, states are cutting childcare subsidies to needy families, raising concerns that more children will end up in foster care. (full text)
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The Voice of Young People in Care (VOYPIC) is a group of youth and adults working to improve foster care in Belfast, Northern Ireland. In one of their projects, young people are trained to go into homes and talk privately with kids about their concerns. (full text)
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The author wonders how much your surroundings influence your goals in life.
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Max rides the subway all night long to get away from the harsh reality of his "ghetto world." He reflects on his loneliness in foster care and on the crime and discrimination that surround him, but he also knows there's a way out to a better future.

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