by Lindsey Ford, Rocky Mountain PBS
“I just think that one, being Black and a woman, and then being a minority there are just a lot of things that set you back and also being the age that I am, you’re not taken seriously and you just don’t have access to certain things because I am Black and I am a woman, and you are usually pushed to the side,” said Phoebe Amoako.
Amoako, an 18-year-old Black woman, Itzel Pacheco, a 17-year-old Mexican-American young woman, and Stacey Adimou, a 16-year-old Black young woman, all have a few things in common: They are young women of color with big dreams, and they are all involved in Young Aspiring Americans for Social and Political Activism (YAASPA).
YAASPA is a nonprofit that supports Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) and other marginalized middle and high school students. The Denver-based organization exposes kids to career pathways to pursue degrees in social justice, teaches them about civic literacy and provides scholarships and skills to help dismantle racism within the education system. The program’s motto is “Redefine the standards to pull down the barriers,” meaning YAASPA’s goal is to break down institutional racism within communities to connect those in the “ivory tower” to marginalized communities.