Kasey Reflects on The Homestretch

Six years after we first met, Kasey writes about her personal experiences as an outspoken advocate and subject of the film

My life changed in late November of 2010 when three women (white) walked into Teen Living Programs with a camera and boom pole asking to hear the voices of young people in “temporary living situations”.  In other words homeless.

 our very first meeting with kasey at teen living programs in 2010 (With Dr. Ozella Barnes)

our very first meeting with kasey at teen living programs in 2010 (With Dr. Ozella Barnes)

I don't really know what made me give them the time of day, but when they asked could they hear me out one on one I guess I felt a tad special to have a voice that someone wanted to listen to. Which was the first time I had felt that way ever in life. Ever since that one meeting in the Milieu of TLP my life hasn't been the same. My eyes are more open to many issues in the world.

The Homestretch gave me a platform to voice the “other side of the story” telling the side of a youth who has experienced things that people only see in a black and white filter when there is so much more to a situation that meets the eye.

When you put a voice to an issue that people don’t normally pay attention to you start to see a change in how people view those things. The Homestretch was that voice for the issue of homeless youth. It was the light that shined on the darkness of the topic of not only youth homelessness but LGBT homelessness as well.

 being named one of the "thrty under thirty" advocacy leaders in the LGBT community by CHicago's windy city times

being named one of the "thrty under thirty" advocacy leaders in the LGBT community by CHicago's windy city times

 with senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and her fellow subjects Advocating for youth  in washington DC

with senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and her fellow subjects Advocating for youth  in washington DC

One of the most major impacts from being in and traveling with the documentary is how it kind of spiraled into a tool to be used within the Chicago Public Schools. To me it's the biggest impact that the movie has produced in my home town. Using its own special video tied to the Homestretch as a sensitivity training to help guide teachers and school staff. Honestly that is my favorite thing that the film has had an impact on.

My personal change is that I have become more social. Before TLP and the documentary I wasn't as social as I am today! No sir nowhere near. Hard to believe right? Being a part of the film pushed me to dealing with high volumes of people at one time. It also changed the way I perceive myself.

When I look back at my life on the day I said yes to the directors I kind of laugh because I compare it to a marriage. I know it sounds weird but here are my points:

1. Countless hours of talking getting to know each other on a personal business and kind of intimate level.

2. Coming to seeing each other when there is no work being done or have an actual purpose other then to check on each other.

3. Taking multiple trips out of passion for what we do together.

 getting ready to be interviewed in cleveland

getting ready to be interviewed in cleveland

4. Explaining to people how this union came to be and why it works so well.

5. Even after all the craziness excitement of a fresh event calms down the union is still tight.

The change that came was value! I learned to value people! Time! Love! But most of all l learned to value myself because only I can make the first step to change something I'm not happy with to make sure that change happens. 

-- Angeline "Kasey" White, Chicago, July 2016