“I was the first of my family to graduate high school... the first of us to break the cycle of alcohol and drug abuse.
I was placed with supportive foster parents, yet I struggled to come to terms with the trauma I experienced as a child. I had to realize it was not my fault.
My foster parents supported me through my journey. They affirmed my identity as I came out. They taught me the power of self-advocacy; the ability to use my own voice in creating the change I want to see in the world.
Since #AgingOut of #FosterCare, I have worked tirelessly to forge positive change where I grew up in Northern Minnesota and later statewide. I have campaigned for marriage equality, safe and supportive schools for LGBTQ youth, and working family tax credits to close the racial wealth gap. I currently serve as the Political Coordinator for OutFront Minnesota where I work on creating a more equitable state for the LGBTQ community through political work and policy.
If you are in the system now, take a deep breath and remember: you are SAFE! Oftentimes, we get stuck in survival mode and forget it's OK to address our pain. Processing the past leads to clarity in the present and preparedness for the future. Also, remember you are not alone — if you maintain a strong support circle, you can achieve anything!”
-Manilan Houle, Campaign Manager for MN State Senator Scott Dibble; Political Coordinator & Community Organizer at OutFront Minnesota