Over the past three days, I've been thrilled to put into action a crucial part of IGNITE Change 2012--our workshop series. We did our first workshop with Artists for Humanity (who is also graciously hosting our fundraiser) and it was amazing--informal, free flowing and creative, a group of ten girls got to talk about issues that, as one participant said, "no one talks about. And I don't think they WILL talk about this again until I get to college." After which she paused and said, "Actually, can we keep talking?"
YES. The coolest thing for me was that this simple question--"Can we keep talking?" is what the essay contest and Boston GLOW are all about. We are trying to start a conversation here, to light a spark, and to let people be energized by that in their own ways. Starting the conversation is the first step to inspiring leadership. So yes, yes, yes--let's keep talking.
And we did. Saturday afternoon we got to spend three hours with 826 Boston in the first of a two part series called WRITE OUT LOUD; in the first part, we first set out to define a word we tend to throw around a lot--community. The girls were so responsive. One girl talked about how she has friends and enemies at school, but they both can be considered communities. One talked about her cultural identity as a second generation Somalian immigrant; others talked about their physical communities that surround them and, sometimes, suffocate them. We then asked them how they felt about their role as girls and women in these communities, and the results were explosive. Each girl felt passionately about a different issue--from the pressure to have sex and become pregnant to the way that music videos make her feel about herself.
And then they each sat down with a volunteer and really debated this issue--and came up with a solid outline to write an amazing plan to address this issue with local, actionable change.
Next week we're going to turn those outlines into full blown essays, and I can't wait. The conversation has started!
I'm sharing this with you because honestly, our fundraiser is spectacular. Our Organized Women events, like VDay and our Spitfire series, are inspiring and polished. The workshops and the essay contest are slightly more raw; they are starting at the root of a very large problem and letting young women feel empowered to solve it in their own ways. More over, this is where those fundraising efforts are going.
Our $20,000 goal isn't just a number. It's a pledge to help these girls pursue education. It's a pledge to tell these girls that they are amazing, and inspiring, and powerful.
It's a pledge to tell these girls that we're listening.
So please, check out these Youtube videos and listen to them in their own words.
At 826 Boston
At Artists for Humanity
Thank you for your support--and thank you for listening.