Meet K4C microgrant recipient Isabella (15) from PA. She founded the youth-led initiative “I Matter” during the time of social unrest that followed the killing of George Floyd. Seeing the video of George Floyd’s death and reading about the killing of Breonna Taylor changed her 14-year-old view of the world and inspired her to take action. “I Matter” helps students from all backgrounds express their feelings through art about how Blacks are treated in society and engenders progress towards equality. The top entries of poetry and art were made into a book which she & her team distributed to schools and libraries across the country. The student winners were offered in-person and virtual speaking opportunities to develop their presentation skills and create a forum for them to inspire others.
- What inspired you to start this project? I was inspired to launch the “I Matter” poetry and art contest on why Black lives matter to provide a forum for youth across the nation to express how they felt about the killings of innocent Black people. Specifically, the killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor inspired me to create the “I Matter” competition.
- While working on your project, what surprised you? I was surprised and amazed by the work that students submitted for the “I Matter” contest. The power of youth to express how they feel about the social justice movement in America is strong. I was also surprised by the number of entries. I had over 650 submissions from 42 states and Washington, DC, plus 26 countries.
- What do you feel you learned from this experience? I have learned more about the process of ranking and organizing entries. With over 650 poems and works of art to review, I had to work efficiently. I am thankful to all of the students who volunteered to help me.
- How did Karma for Cara impact your project? Karma for Cara helped me in so many ways. I am thankful to Karma for Cara for helping to spread the word about the competition. Also, the funding from Karma for Cara made it possible for me to host the competition in 2021. Thank you SO much!!!
- How will your project continue to impact others? My project has inspired students to write poems and create art about social justice and motivated youth to volunteer. The “I Matter” contest will continue to impact students by celebrating the 20 winners and sharing their work. Also, the top entries will be included in a book that will be donated to classrooms across the nation.
- How many hours did you spend on your project? 300
- How many youth volunteers or students (age 18 or under) were involved in your project? 50
- How many total hours did other youth volunteers or students (age 18 or under) spend on your project? 500