Today is Valentine’s Day. It’s a day to celebrate the people we love, those who support us and those who inspire us towards new horizons while sharing in the earnest joy of our accomplishments. We celebrate loving one another in a way to means respect to the full beauty of a person: their intelligence, their passion, their drive, their ability to make us laugh, and their ability to support when we need to cry. We celebrate the mothers, partners, brothers, sisters, mentors, teachers, spouses, and friends who love us.
However, not all women and girls experience love in this context. Over the past three months, we have been collecting the words of young women in the city of Boston through our IGNITE Change essay contest. We have heard local stories of teen pregnancy, dating violence, rape, and pressure to dress in revealing clothing. We’ve heard young women tell their personal stories about being torn between their goals and boyfriends. We’ve heard pleas for comprehensive sex education and access to birth control.
According to the United Nations, United Nations states that 1 in 3 women on the planet will be beaten or raped during her lifetime. That is more than one billion women living on the planet today.
According to the IGNITE Change Essay Contest Applicants, girls and women in Boston are striving for support that will lead them towards loving healthy relationships.
"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"
These are the powerful words of one of this year’s IGNITE Change Applicants. She reminds us of the reality of dating violence, but realizes that with help and support we can transcend this experience.
So this year, as we celebrate those we love on Valentine’s Day, let’s renew our commitment to demonstrate love through supporting the young women in our community. Let’s help them to understand that love means being respected and valued. Let’s remember what it means to love safely and confidently, and that true love commences with loving yourself.
Let us remember that love is an action. Here are some ways that YOU can put your LOVE into action with Boston GLOW:
- Become an IGNITE Change Writing Mentor or Career Mentor!
Each Writing Mentor is paired with an IGNITE Change Finalist. You write a personalized response for them and support them at the awards dinner on April 10th in Boston
Each Career Mentor is paired with an IGNITE Change Finalist. You are responsible for providing a job shadow day as well as help her to develop her career goals!
- Help plan March 8th International Women’s Day Event!
- Volunteer for this years’ production of The Vagina Monologues
- Attend (and get your friends to attend) on March 23, 24, and 25!
- Share the voices of young women in Boston:
"I was one of those teenage girls in Dorchester that didn't understand my value or what I deserved...I want to help young women realized their worth and build their self esteem."
"When we see girls and women of color saving lives, solving problems, and having normal lives, it creates and reinforces the voice in a girl's head that says, 'I can do anything! I can make a difference, too!'"
"When women and girls work together to complete a task, I believe it can be accomplished. We have incredible power"
“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.”
Happy Valentine's Day to all of our supporters!
Keep loving, Keep fighting!