Voices’ Blog

Welcome our 2022 Advocacy Cohort!

Posted:  -  By: Kristin Lennox

Please welcome our 2022 Advocacy Cohort!

We are so honored to introduce the members of our 2022 Advocacy Cohort. This group of inspirational youth and young adults is diverse in age, region, advocacy experience, and lived experience. They are excited, eager, and enthusiastic about the work ahead.

The Advocacy Cohort is in conjunction with Pretty Purposed, a mentorship organization with community-based and school-based programming in Richmond, VA, and the surrounding counties. “Pretty Purposed inspires communities to empower girls and young women.”

Ava, 15 (she/her), with Brown Ballerinas for Change

“Be the change you were created to be. Advocacy has no age or limits. You are your ancestors’ wildest dreams.”


Chanel, 19 (she/her)

“The voices and experiences of the youth are essential for a better-quality future.”

Drew, 24 (she/her)

“Be who you needed when you were younger.”

Elijah, 14 (he/him), with Hear Our Voices

“When youth are able to come to the table on the issues that affect us, true and long-lasting systemic change is possible.”

Nicole, 24 (she/her)

“Fred Rogers says, ‘It’s easy to say not my child, not my community, not my world, not my problem. Then there are those who see the need and respond.’ Well here we are, and we are ready to respond and advocate! Virginia is a community worth fighting for!”

Saniya, 15 (she/her), with Pretty Purposed

“Never be afraid to raise your voice for honesty and truth and compassion against injustice. If people all over the world would do this, it would change the earth.”

Tayonna, 15 (she/her), with Pretty Purposed

“I am the future for the positive change.”

Grace, 14 (she/her)

“I am a trans child and I have a voice that I need to use.”

Melissa, 23 (she/her)

“We must come together in one another’s shared experiences and differences as we start to rebuild our communities. It’s no secret it has been a tough few years, but for many the pandemic and ongoing racial injustice has added to the hurt and hardships. People are tired. We need support. We need solutions. We need a system that prioritizes humanity. We need to create a new ‘normal’ and take action that moves us forward.”

Kennedy, 15 (she/her), with Brown Ballerinas for Change

Naomi, 17 (she/her)

“I would say what most inspired me to join the cohort, was my history teacher. She made me see that my opinions matter and that I should fight for what I believe in, she teaches me every day something new and encourages me to keep fighting for myself and my community.”


2022 Advocacy Cohort members not pictured:

De’marya, 16 (she/her), with Pretty Purposed, said: “You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.”

Aaliyana, 16 (she/her), said: “As young people, we have the responsibility of pursuing and advocating for change so future generations won’t have to experience the same struggles.”

Jonathan, 15 (he/him), with Hampton World Changers Ambassadors

Talia, 15 (she/her), with Pretty Purposed

Brook’lyn, 14 (she/her), with Pretty Purposed

Oniya, 15 (she/her), with Pretty Purposed 


Supporting this cohort are:

Lotoria Fowlkes, volunteer and mentor with Pretty Purposed

Kristin Lennox, Advocacy & Engagement Manager with Voices for Virginia’s Children

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