Joining Roots&Shoots gave me tools to develop a new project. I wanted to focus on a project that was directly impacting me and my community, I looked at different things happening around me and problems that were facing different communities in my area and decided I wanted to take action. As someone who is part of the LGBTQ+ community, I have first hand experience of what it feels like to see a lack of representation in books and other media. With mental health being drastically worse for members of the queer community, being able to read a book where they feel represented or their family is being represented is really important because they can relate to the characters and feel less alone. Seeing characters like yourself represented in books is one step closer to seeing yourself valued and equal in society. I live right outside of an incredibly diverse town that puts major focus on diversity. However in surrounding communities, there have been issues of homophobia and are overall much less tolerant of anyone outside of what they deem normal. Diversity is either ignored and pushed under the rug or barely talked about. A major part of intolerance is caused by a lack of understanding or education, if someone has never interacted with someone who is part of the LGBTQ+ community, then they will not understand or see the human side of that person. Overall, my goal is to decrease the stigma around lgbtq+ humans, teach young people how to respect each other, and create safe spaces for lgbtq+ people and families to show everyone that you deserve and are part of this world and there is space for you to be yourself and live your life.