Montana Lopez: the one thing they can’t take is my name

Oct 13, 2020 | Commentary

As Hispanic Heritage Month comes to an end, Foster Success wants to take the time to shine a light on this group of youth who often go unseen in the conversations around young adults who have experienced foster care. For Montana Lopez, this month matters “…because it shows that Americans can appreciate other heritages and cultures.”

For Montana, being Hispanic brings a large sense of pride. However, with that pride comes experiences of racism. Because of this, Montanta has felt the need to suppress his culture. Almost half of Hoosier children exiting foster care in 2018 had at least three placements. While each placement brings its own challenges and adjustments for young people in foster care. For Montana, each placement represented a constant struggle to stay connected to his Hispanic culture. 

Solutions for Systems; Including Youth of Color in Conversations 

Montana would like to see youth of color at the table when decisions are being made about changes to the foster care system. Montana said “I would like to see DCS approach this issue with more diversity, instead of asking a couple of youth of color, ask them all. Let their voices and struggles be heard and known.” Additionally, he stated that “DCS should require parents to take diversity classes as well, to ensure that no matter what color or part of the world or state a child is from they will all be treated equally and fairly.”

Bringing Together the Community 

For Montana exposure to diversity is key. Montana encourages child welfare systems to have “some type of event for all foster kids to attend, like a Big Foster Family Gathering. Have all parents and their youth come out and enjoy the day, eating at a park and bonding with others, and learning about the diversity and the same struggles they all might be having.”

We encourage you to keep learning about Hispanic Heritage and the Child Welfare System. Below are some additional resources that might be helpful in the continued work toward racial justice. 

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