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October 12, 2021 HUMAN RIGHTS

Meet the Lived Experience Editing Team

The American Bar Association contracted with lived experience experts to provide feedback on these articles as part of the ABA’s commitment to youth engagement, as established under ABA Resolution 115: “Effective reforms of legal systems that affect the fundamental rights of children and youth—including, but not limited to the child welfare, immigration, and juvenile justice legal systems—cannot be accomplished without active participation by individuals who experienced those systems as children and youth.”

Our feedback was positive and constructive, noting where youth may not have the same opinion as an author, when catch-all solutions may not suffice, when reform ideas could have unintended consequences, and how lawyers should communicate with and about youth. The policies we profess and the words we use to profess them both matter.

Meet the Lived Experience Editing Team

Meet the Lived Experience Editing Team

ABA Section of Civil Rights and Social Justice

Ariella Stafanson (she/her) is pursuing a dual JD/MPP at the University of Michigan. A Dean’s Public Interest Fellow, she is committed to a career in public interest law. Her data-informed legal research was published in ABA Child Law Practice Today (Nov. 2019). (top row, left)

Dorian Gervais (they/them) is a non-binary former foster youth who has participated in fundraising efforts for child welfare causes, advocated for subsequently passed California legislation, and engaged in general social reform involving foster youth. (top row, second to the left)

Erica Hickey (she/her) serves as policy director for VOICES, a direct services nonprofit serving foster youth, and is on the California Youth Connection (CYC) Board of Directors. She is also a law student at Golden Gate University. (top row, second to the right)

Jevon Wilkes (he/him) is executive director of the California Coalition for Youth, director of Youth Engagement with the California Children’s Trust, and a member of several California youth-serving committees and councils, where he brings expert leadership to ongoing systems improvement. (top row, right)

Lily Colby, Esq. (she/they) is founder of, an organization focused on empowering people with lived experience to shape the systems that impacted them. Lily previously served on the ABA Commission on Youth at Risk and is currently on the Board of Legal Services for Children. (bottom row, left)

Mary Watson (she/her) is a college student, nail technician, and proud cat momma. She’s learned to navigate advocating for herself and serves as a role model for her younger siblings. (bottom row, second to the left)

Tisha Ortiz (she/they) is a student at Cal State East Bay. Tisha has presented at national conferences and served on projects impacting bills that have become law. Tisha hopes to become a paralegal. (bottom row, second to the right)

Zakiya Moore (she/her) is a prolific writer, blogger, and storyteller with a multitude of writing abilities that translate to literature, screenwriting, and technical writing. She currently writes for the artistic lifestyle blog Woke Dancer. (bottom row, right)