Baltimore Teens Fought To Provide Communities With Fast and Reliable Internet

When school went online during COVID lockdowns, Kimberly Vasquez’s unreliable WiFi started to hinder her schoolwork. Her grade point average dropped but her family could only afford the low-cost plan that wasn’t suitable for remote learning. 

Vasquez, joined by Yashira Valenzuela and Aliyah Abid, organized to petition Comcast to make their plans faster and more economical for low-income families. After rallying at Comcast headquarters, the city’s largest provider made the most affordable option for internet run at twice the speed. 

Teenagers on State Boards of Education—Why Including the Voices of Young Women Is Essential

Eleni Livingston and Rana Banankhah, both 17 years old, are voting members of their states’ board of education. They help decide high school graduation requirements, determine teacher qualifications and develop state student assessments. They also bridge the gender gap in education leadership—since women make up only 31 percent of school district chiefs. Their experiences show the importance of student voices in policymaking.

“On the board it can be intimidating to go in, as a young woman, as a teenager, into an environment like that and jump right in and start advocating for my peers,” Livingston said.

“To be treated like an adult, even though I can’t even vote for [U.S.] president, was really eye-opening,” Banankhah said.

NYC Teen Activist Bridges Gap for Mental Health Support: “When You’re a Teenager, You Learn From Each Other”

Instead of wasting away hours scrolling on Instagram and TikTok during quarantine in 2021, Alyssa Simone spent her time researching mental health techniques and sharing her knowledge with her peers.
Recently, her group launched Mentalligence, an immersive program making mental health education accessible to teens weekly via Zoom. So far, over 150 NYC students have connected in small groups to learn about and experiment with different therapy techniques.

2021’s Top Stories From the Ms. Team of Feminist Student Journalists

They used Minecraft to fight for their reproduction rights, T-shirts to protest censorship, Instagram to bring an end to sexual assault and state law to reform environmental curricula in schools. The teen girls profiled in this year’s The Future is Ms. series dug deep into their activists toolbox to create change in their communities and make the world a better place for girls and women. Here’s a roundup of articles written by teen girl journalists.

Students Lead Charge to Fight Pollutant in Cosmetics Widely Used by Women

After 18 months of fighting for clean air, Alexandra Collins thought that she could leave ethylene oxide behind. But then, she found that the pollutant is an ingredient in many cosmetics that women and girls use today. She combined her computer science skills and her advocacy work and partnered with a friend to create an app that reviews cosmetics products with the mission of keeping girls and women safe from the harms of EtO.

High School Youth Create Social Media Space to Share Stories of Sexual Violence: “Like an Unearthing Moment”

When Sarah created the Piedmont Protectors Instagram account in July 2020, the Bay Area high school student wanted a platform for students to share their stories of rape, sexual assault and sexual harassment in their community.

Though Piedmont High School only has 840 students, the account gained over 1,500 within the first week. After three days of being live, there were already over 90 posts anonymously reporting and documenting sexual assault, harassment and rape in the Piedmont Unified School District student community.