Is It Time To Shift The Narrative?

Angela Quijada-Banks Author Interview

The Black Foster Youth Handbook is written to help youth and young adults that have aged out of the system heal and thrive afterward. Why was this an important book for you to write?

I was called both while awake and in my sleep through dreams to create a guide for young people in foster care back in 2016. The pandemic in March of 2020 made the call louder and it was revealed to me that I could not put it off any longer- that youth were aging out of foster care not only in stereotypical outcomes such as homelessness, sex trafficking, prison and suicide but to add to that— a whole world wide pandemic. The world is calling for us collectively to heal and youth and families touched by the child welfare system need support through the lens of holistic wellness not just coping skills and survival mechanisms. I need youth to know that they can create a joyous life in spite of their trauma and so I was willing to be vulnerable in sharing my story in order for others to feel empowered and uncover the purpose within their pain as I have. I created the R.E.A.L success model that takes youth and supportive adults through the 4 phases (Root, Envision, Ascension & Liberation) so that the reader can have a practical framework to self reflect, engage in self-exploration alone and with community as well as achieve a sense of inner freedom out of the bondage of one’s trauma.

I appreciated the candid nature with which you told your story. What was the hardest thing for you to write about?

Honestly, the whole book haha..

My first draft was very angry. I carried a lot of pain and writing, picking up running while I wrote and processing this information was extremely healing. After sending the draft off to my editor, I had a very clear and vivid dream on how the book was going to be formatted and the clarity of the R.E.A.L success model. I am grateful for my husband, divine connection to my ancestors, my book launch team, friends, and a few family members who helped me process this. I knew it would be rough but that it was necessary for such a resource to exist. It was time.

What is one piece of advice someone gave you that changed your life?

To cherish the people in your life while they are still here and alive. You know, give them their flowers while they are still living and don’t wait until they have passed to show your appreciation, love and admiration for them. This is something I do daily and each chance I get to speak up and tell people how they are positively making a difference in my life, in others or the world.

What do you hope is one thing readers take away from your story

The trauma you experienced is not something anyone should have to go through and yet you are here still living. And that says something profound, that you have a divine purpose that you may choose to fulfill in this life. You are not your trauma. You are whoever and whatever the hell you wish to be. You are powerful beyond what you give yourself credit for and in order to fully step into your gifts- You will need to challenge many aspects of yourself and circumstances that you grasped on to in order to survive. It was never your fault but now it is your responsibility to create a life worth living. Powerful soul, it is time to heal. It is time to be free. It is time to discover the real you-outside of the version of you created to endure the trauma. You do not have to do this alone. You are loved. And after everything, you matter to so many. Greatness is in your hands but it all starts with choices.

Do you choose to be what you have seen doesn’t work? Or is it time to shift the narrative?

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook OrginialSoulFlower | Facebook soulfulliberation | Website soulfulliberation | Website originalsoulflower

Foster Care is a whole other world that most of the world’s population knows little to nothing about. Many people do not know the very low statistics young people endure in order to successfully age-out of foster care.

Less than 5% of young people with the experience of foster care graduate post-secondary education. There are many youth who become prey to sex-trafficking or suseptable to suicide due to homelessness, mental health challenges and no support system. Now, couple the child welfare system with the element of racial injustices and the history of white supremacy and the topic may even become taboo.

Ángela Quijada-Banks, a woman of African and Indigeneous descent has taken the liberty of giving back to these communities for a half a decade through advocacy, advisory and organizational training. Through her travels across the nation, speaking to congressional members, federal stakeholders and constituents of the foster care system she decided some sort of manual was needed to combat the shocking low success rates of young people with the background of foster care. This handbook is written to be supplemental to young people in foster care’s navigation through foster care and healing beyond it.

Supportive adults such as foster/resource parents, case managers, GALs, therapists and social workers will also find this to be helpful in their roles in young people’s lives. Success is possible regardless of where you come from, you just have to know where to look, who to trust and believe in the one person that can get you to the other side of pain and trauma, you.

Posted on February 25, 2022, in Interviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.


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