Teen Vogue Magazine marks the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment with the cover story dedicated to the stories of women of color. Stars of the session are writer and activist Raquel Willis, actor Jessica Marie Garcia, Puerto Rican feminist blogger Aliana Margarita Bigio Alcoba, actor Leah Lewis, Florida Rights Restoration Coalition’s Tiniesha Johnson, Representative Ayanna Pressley, Native Alaskan student activist Charitie Ropati, actor and activist Yara Shahidi, New York City Council candidate Shahana Hanif, and Black Lives Matter activist Thandiwe Abdullah. In charge of photography were Tory Rust and Kai Byrd. Styling is work of Tahirah Hairston, with art direction from Emily Zirimis.
“I am going to vote because I believe that harm reduction does still matter, but I do understand why there are people who put more energy into other ways of organizing and transforming our country. Electoral power is just one type of power that we have and can aspire to in this country. I’m more interested in a holistic conversation that focuses on a variety of ways people can organize and impact change. I have to call into account a lot of our politicians; I think about former president Barack Obama. I think we have a lot of folks who have a lot of power and a lot of platform who put all this energy into telling people to vote, but mum’s the word for all the other action that is happening. How many of them are continuously encouraging the folks who are doing direct action on the ground and protesting? How many of them are routinely highlighting the work of community organizers?” – Raquel Willis
“To me, voting means having a voice, which is kind of what we’re all fighting for right now. I would tell Asian American teens, specifically, that the generation they live in is one of the strongest, loudest, and most passionate ones. They can be a part of that, and are a part of that.” – Leah Lewis
“What I hear when I ask people if they’re registered is, “Oh, I don’t believe in voting. I don’t want to vote for the president anyway.” So I have to break it down and say it’s not just about the presidential race; it’s about local races too. If you have children, you vote for the school board.… I think some people are starting to be woke about it, but there are still a lot of people who are not educated about voting rights and civil rights. Period.
I always say, “If you don’t use your vote, you’re still using your vote.” Not voting is voting. If you don’t get out there and vote for your community, you’re actually saying a lot. You’re saying you don’t care about your community and the dollars that could come into it to help people.
If you are able to register to vote, use your voice; don’t let anyone tell you you cannot vote. It is a right that was given to us, and don’t let anyone take that from you.” – Tiniesha Johnson
Photographers: Tory Rust and Kai Byrd
Art Director: Emily Zirimis
Stylist: Tahirah Hairston
Photography © Tory Rust and Kai Byrd for Teen Vogue, for more visit www.teenvogue.com