I was born in Illinois and raised in Gary, IN. (Yes, the city where Michael Jackson was born). Growing up in a city like Gary, you are marked with a stamp of “failure”; For me failure was not an option. I did not grow up privileged with a silver spoon in my mouth. It was a struggle, a struggle that would ultimately impact the woman I have grown to become today.  I had no direction, no idea where I would end up or how I would even make it but I did know I had mother and grandmother who were praying women who kept me in the church as a child. It was there, I began to understand I was just different…

At 17, a senior in high school and at this point pregnant with my first child. I did not allow that to detour my dreams (After all I endured far worse in my life). I was molested by a family member, raped, and in a relationship with an older man. I now understand it was a clear cry out for help, but no one heard it. Four years later, I would find myself pregnant with my second child born on June 12, 1999. My perfect bouncing baby boy began as early as I can remember at age 2 to present signs that something was not right. As a mom of now two sons you just know that this child was not developing in the manner my first born had.

Being in denial, I blew it off as being, “he is just developing slower than my oldest son”. It wasn’t until my son entered into kindergarten that the delays were visible by someone other than myself. I was experiencing daily phone calls from teachers with problems in school. I was literally called and at the school so much every teacher and administrator knew me (even if my son had no encounters with them). I was then referred by my sons pediatric doctor after being told that he was just “hard headed”, to a behavioral specialist, who then referred me to a psychologist. My son tested from the age of 5 until he was clinically diagnosed with autism by the time he was 9 years old.

The journey I would take with my sons taught me valuable lessons. I could not allow my situation to become my final destination. I could not allow the labels that were put on me to become what define me. I would not settle for less than all that life had for me and my children because of a diagnosis.As women with children we believe our lives are over when we give birth to children but its not it’s an adjustment period, a learning and strengthening phase.  My son who is now 19 years old, has endured life with obstacles and still continue to be as strong enough despite of the challenges he has faced with Autism, battling depression and OCD. He faced them fearlessly everyday, so who am I to feel sorry for all that I endured. Through his fight, I found my voice.

I decided 8 years ago that I’d give hope to the world. I would become the teacher that I had always dreamed as a kid and develop a platform to deliver a positive message and educate the world on the positive things that life is filled with.  That “Ah Ha” moment is when 6Twelve Magazine was born!

There is so much negativity going on in the world. There are very few sources that deliver a positive image of the things that are good going on in the world and as I began to evaluate the sources that delivered information to us, I realized my children had few selections that I would be comfortable with them reading; Few options that inspired or educated people to live despite of the obstacles they had or may face in their lives. 6 Twelve would become their source!

6 Twelve is a voice, a voice for those who endure and overcome something in their life and overcome against all odds. 6 Twelve is my autistic son’s voice; enduring all that he has endured. From evaluations, appointments,  school challenges, depression, medication, isolation and living his life under a “microscope”.  I owe it to him to become his voice and the voice of countless others who would not otherwise have one. I owe my sons a fight to give back a voice that was taken away from our family by an Autism Diagnosis. My sons will forever be my motivation and inspiration behind what the world knows as 6 Twelve Magazine. 6 Twelve Magazine represents strength, endurance and survival.

6 Twelve Magazine is positive,entertaining, educating and inspiring!

Thank you to those who read my story and  inspired to live, it means more to me to inspire one to live than all the riches the world can offer! Thank you to those who have continually supported 6 Twelve’s Magazine’s journey your support is greatly appreciated.

Keep watching, keep supporting, keep believing!

Thank you,

Rochelle Johnson

Founder|Editor in Chief

6 Twelve Magazine