Last night I sat down to scan several submissions to the 2012 IGNITE Change Essay contest. This year, we asked young women the following question: What would you change about the role of women in your school, community, or city?
Over the past few months, the GLOW team of Organized Women volunteers has been working with groups of girls to find their voices and develop their ideas. After participating in these workshops, I was eager to see what the results. I wanted to know what the young women in Boston have to say. Each essay captivated me in its own way. I was impressed by the personal stories, connection to individual communities and sincerity of the essays. However, one thing stuck with me. It was the phrase found in every essay I read. That phrase: I BELIEVE. One young woman, enlightened by her own experiences, stated:
"I believe no teenage girl should be abused by a guy whom she thinks she loves. I want teenage girls to understand that they have choices, believe that they are valuable and know that they are precious. They deserve someone who will cater to them, respect them and value them"
This powerful declaration was followed by structured plans to promote positive identities and healthy relationships for young women using social media. It was actionable, clear and real. After that one essay, I was hooked. For those of you who have generously been supporting these young women, I wanted to share some snippets from their writing.
“In our society we have this mindset that everyone is out there for themselves. But it doesn’t have to be that way unless we want it that way. We were all put in this world together, so it makes no sense for us not to help one another.”
“As women we should help each other succeed instead of watching each other struggle”
“I want teenage girls to know that there is love behind violence.
I originally sat down to read essays as a break from frantically responding to event planning emails. Instead, I found the perfect inspiration to remind us why we actively fundraise, why we promote IGNITE the NITE. These young women believe in their potential to IGNITE change. So what are you waiting for? Get your tickets to IGNITE the NITE, and help these talented young women do more than believe. Help them achieve.
Keep loving, Keep fighting… and see you on January 12th!