girls' voices

Students Win 1st Place at International Ocean Film festival

by Daniel Polk, Director of Public Relations and Global Citizenship Program Coordinator of The Hamlin School. Originally published here.

On March 11, four dynamic Grade 7 filmmakers [of The Hamlin School] won first place in the middle school student section of the 15th Annual International Ocean Film Festival held in San Francisco, California. Allie, Avery, Dani, and Helena were recognized for their film, "Strawbucks." 

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In Solidarity We Rise

by Andrea Zamora, Member of Alliance for Girls' Young Women's Leadership Board & Student.

Through my involvement with Alliance for Girls and being part of the Girls Leadership Team, I was invited to attend a conference for three days in Washington D.C. The conference called “In Solidarity We Rise: Healing, Opportunity and Justice for Girls,” was the first conference that I ever attended. It was also my first time ever being in an airplane. It was definitely a new experience and I didn’t know what to expect. I also wasn’t too sure how a conference was set up or what we were suppose to do. Throughout the whole time, I was excited about attending my first conference but I was scared of my workshop and having to present in front of others. I tend to get really nervous about saying something wrong and messing up in front of an audience. During the conference, we were able to present our work on revamping Oakland Unified School District’s sexual harassment policy and the process that it all came about from conducting research to the Girls Leadership Team to working together and transforming the policy. I felt relieved when we were done presenting and got good feedback. Along with my workshop, were other organization presenting and teaching others about their work and things they can implement if they wanted to do something alike. 

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Meet Dahlia, the Oakland Lacrosse Player of the Month 

by Dahlia, Lacrosse Player at Oakland Lacrosse Club. Originally published here.

Oakland Lacrosse launched a strategic initiative to implement our holistic program at every Oakland public middle school. Dahlia joined our program about four weeks ago. Last week we had the opportunity to interview Dahlia about her OLC experience:

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Not Only a Pipeline: Schools as Carceral Sites

by Connie Wun, Founder/Director of Transformative Research: An Institute for Research and Social Transformation. Originally published here.

In this article, I argue that schools operate as multilayered sites that do more than funnel students into prison or prime them for incarceration. Schools are part and parcel of a US logic of punitive carcerality, positioning Black and Brown bodies under constant observation and scrutiny through the school’s architecture, policies, and practices. I examine the relation-ship that this logic has to Black girls and their experiences with school discipline, including their resistance to the conditions of schools as carceral sites.

Drawing from Black feminist theory (Richie, 1996) and critical prison studies (Rodriguez, 2006), I collected data via participant observations and in-depth interviews at Foundations High School, located in northern California.1,2 Based upon a qualitative study of 20 Black and Latinx girls and their experiences with school discipline, this paper focuses on three girls whose narratives exemplify the experiences that they and their peers have with school discipline and punishment.

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Alliance for Girls' Conference: Together We Rise

by Maren Frye, student at Berkeley High School and intern at YWCA Berkeley/Oakland

 

I went to the Alliance for Girls’ Conference: Together We Rise as part of a school club, Berkeley High School Stop Harassing, which aims to stop the culture of sexual harassment at our high school and support victims. It was a truly amazing experience. While there, I heard some of the most intelligent, inspiring, all-around amazing women I had ever met speak about their experiences of sexism and discrimination, and how they overcame those obstacles. One talk in particular stood out to me; when the president of EMILY’s List, Stephanie Schriock, presented about the need for women in public office and the work EMILY’s list was doing to support them, I heard the call to action. In that moment, I felt so inspired to use my power as a woman to help all of us around the country that I made a decision—I was going to run for president when I grew up! While I don’t think that’s probable, I do think I want to go into public office now (just a lesser one). It’s so important for women to be part of the institutions that make changes that affect them; we can’t let men decide what’s best for us, WE need to do that. And while I was at the conference, I learned about an opportunity to do just that. I picked up a flyer about the programs at the Berkeley YWCA and knew immediately that this was a chance to make the changes that had seemed abstract and distant in my head, but were now tangible.

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Emma Mayerson and Alliance for Girls - 2017 Gender Justice Honoree

by Equal Rights Advocates, originally published in their blog here.

Equal Rights Advocates proudly recognizes partner organization, Alliance for Girls (AFG), and its founding director, Emma Mayerson, as 2017 Gender Justice Honorees. This award is given each year to civil rights champions who have contributed to the movement for gender equality, and whose support and partnership have made ERA stronger.

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Creativity's Role in Impact Storytelling

by Rachel Dodd. Originally published in SoPact's blog here.

"I am a creative" - not a phrase I expected to declare at a conference - especially not at the top of my lungs. However, that's exactly what I did alongside a crowd of fellow creatives at the 5th annual Alliance for Girls conference (Together We Rise!). Prior to our encounter with Anasa Troutman, founder of eLOVEate, some of us never before dared assert our association with such a fluid - spiritual - magical - and intangible adjective as creative.

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When I Joined the Oakland Teen Empowerment Pageant:

by Anna Sara M., alumna of the Oakland Teen Empowerment Program

"Hi, my name is Anna Sara and I am going to college. Hola, me llamo Anna Sara y voy a la universidad. Bonjour je m'appelle Anna Sara et je vais aller a l'université."

A proper and impressive first impression was one of the first things I learned when I joined the Oakland Teen Empowerment Pageant. I remember receiving a lecture on etiquette, poise, and eloquence in a classroom at Laney College, a campus which I found much bigger than I had expected in my 13-year-old mind. At the time, I thought of myself as a really driven girl but it wasn't until I joined that Pageant that I found a direction in which to propel myself.

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Promoting Change in the Film Industry

by Clarissa, Student Board Member at Camp Reel Stories

I’ve gone to Camp Reel Stories three times so far and plan on going for a fourth time this summer. It’s become a tradition of sorts to attend camp, make a film, and watch it spread throughout the country to various film festivals and onto people’s screens, whether those are found on their phones, on their computers, or in movie theaters. I cannot confidently say that I will go into the film industry when I grow older, but I can say that I have found a sense of community through the camp and gained inspiration from strong women, who prove everyday that they have what it takes to compete with men in a male dominated industry. 

Ten, twenty years ago, not many girls could have said they have such a large support system or find such inspiration from the women around them. Today, while we have strong female role models, when one compares the female to male ratio in the film, tech, sales, finance, culinary, mathematical, and political industry- to name a few, we females still fall far behind men. To not just know one strong female but a whole community of powerful women, whose shared goal is to change an industry, is incredibly important to me. To have a community and a group that helps me grow as a woman and as a filmmaker, to have a support system, and to feel like I’m a part of something innovative, something that is making an impact that grows every year, is something I’m very grateful for because change is important and change has been slowly increasing for years. I am confident that with help from Camp Reel Stories and other organizations promoting change and the support of minorities, I will see an industry that isn’t dominated by a single gender or ethnic group in my lifetime.

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Helping Girls to Tend Their Inner Fire

by Sarai Shapiro, Founder & Director of Gaia Girls Passages

During our fall camping trip with our Rite of Passage group, the girls were sent on a group mission into the wilderness. They came back with dirt on their faces, mud between their toes, and a fire ignited within. The wild had opened something deep inside of them– something that yearns to be touched by us humans.

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March On With Girls Social Justice

by Helen Cordes, editor of the national print bimonthly New Moon Girls. Originally published here. They are currently collecting stories and experiences from girls who were at Women's Marches on January 21st.


Lili, 9: I chose that poster message because it shows how women are stronger when they are together than when they are apart. It also shows how strong their opinion is about women’s rights in a way that is non-violent.

I’m still flying high from the worldwide outpouring of female strength in the Women’s Marches. And girls—the thousands upon thousands who marched—are soaring even higher. At New Moon Girls, the feminist print magazine and online community made by and for girls—our members are BEYOND pumped, sharing proud reports from the front lines.


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Beautiful Project Youth Advisory Council

by Naomi Katz, Founder of Beautiful Project. Originally published here.

Announcing..Beautiful Project is now accepting applications for our
Youth Council! Open to women aged 15-25 who want to join a global community of young women who are inspired to create art and share it to empower themselves and others. Click here for more information and please, please share.  You can easily spread the word via the website, FacebookInstagram or Twitter.

The idea of the Youth Council came to me in part because I am inspired by the work of Aria Watson, an 18-year-old student in Oregon, who created the series #SignedByTrump, featuring photos of women who wear Trump's words on their naked bodies (including the photo above). Watson's work moves me because she is calling on us to pay attention, even more than we already are, by giving these horrific words a form - the female form. In doing so she, of course, further points out the toxic nature of these messages, and also - perhaps more importantly - takes a step toward making change by creating art. My teachers were right when they taught me that art calls the people to listen.


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2016 MAGIC Final Presentations

by the mentees and mentors at MAGIC (More Active Girls In Computing)

We are proud to be able to share the videos from MAGIC's 2016 Final Presentations! The 2015-2016 MAGIC mentoring season concluded on June 17th, with the last round of final presentations from the 2015-2016 mentees. Fifteen mentees came from all over California to partake in these presentations. A majority of these mentees found out about MAGIC from sources outside their schools, while a few came from one of our partner schools, Oak Grove High School, in South San Jose. This event was sponsored by Google, and the presentations were held at Google HQ in Mountain View (for more information, see the news from June 2016).

Mentee Iris Cheung, mentored by Catherine Wah:



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Changing Culture is an Act of Love

Story by Kuei, Youth Ambassador of That's Not Cool, a project of Futures Without Violence. Originally posted on ThatsNotCool.com

My people are from the world’s newest nation of South Sudan and we carry our culture everywhere we go. I love and embrace my culture because that is what I grew up to do and I feel like it has made me the person I am today. I was born in Cairo, Egypt but my family was born and grew up in South Sudan. Even though I love my people, I think some of their values are oppressive. For example, that a woman’s goals and dreams should revolve around her being a wife and a mother and that they should obey the men in their lives, or that it is a man’s job to get at least one wife, have children and be the breadwinner for his family. Ever since I could remember, my mother was a single mom. My brothers and I did not have our dad in our lives and we watched my mother try to play both roles. She taught me the opposite of what she internalized. She taught me to be my own person and do what I want to do that would better my tomorrow.

My mother worked a lot and we lived with a lot of family. I watched a lot of unhealthy relationships that constantly went on through my life and I made an agreement with myself that I would never entertain an unhealthy relationship in my life. It did not really work well because I did not know what the signs where or how to go about it.

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Machismo's Vicious Reign in my Latinx Community

by Abigail Miranda, Youth Council Advisory Council member of That's Not Cool, a project of Futures Without Violence. Originally posted on ThatsNotCool.com

What is Machismo?

Machismo is a predominant “traditional” belief in Latinx communities that women are inferior to men. Machismo takes forms in various ways and often is culturally ingrained within Latinx communities. Machismo within our Latinx communities is most commonly presented in sets of heavily enforced gender norms and expectations. Often coming from “La mujer tiene que atender su hombre, porque es la mujer” (“The woman has to attend her man because she is the woman”) to “No seas lloron! Sos hombre!” (“Don’t be a crybaby! You’re a man”) Machismo has established oppressive standards that are harmful to both women and men. Machismo sets a strong practice that of which “hombres” have to comply to machismo and are expected to be hyper-masculine, intimidating, aggressive, and dominant. It is a strongly practiced and harmful belief system that not only maintains sexism as a habitual practice, but also ventures into violence, sexism, transphobia, and homophobia.


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The Power of All Youth

by Fatima Tall, Slam Poet, Youth Activist/Organizer, and Youth Ambassador of That's Not Cool, a project of Future Without Violence. Originally posted on ThatsNotCool.com.

FatimaYouth of all shapes and forms have voices that carry truth and passion.

Yet, the youth voice is a lost voice.

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2016 Summer Highlight: Camp Nicaragua

by Coach Bre, Shannon, and the SF Sol Coaches at Girls Leading Girls

The week of June 19, nine SF Sol players, two mothers, and three coaches jumped on a red eye flight headed to Leon, Nicaragua, where we spent a week running soccer camp sessions for over 30 girls in the nearby rural village of Goyena. The girls jumped right in during soccer camp sessions to help equip their Nicaraguan sisters with new soccer skills. It was something special to see the American girls and Nicaraguan girls interact so easily and make instant connections on the soccer field.

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REAL TALK about SEX

by Naomi Katz, Founder of Beautiful Project



“What if we spoke to kids about sex more instead of less, what if we could normalize it, integrate it into everyday life and shift our thinking in the ways that we (mostly) have about women’s public roles? Because the truth is, the more frankly and fully teachers, parents and doctors talk to young people about sexuality, the more likely kids are both to delay sexual activity and to behave responsibly and ethically when they do engage in it.”

- Peggy Orenstein, "When Did Porn Become Sex Ed?", NY Times, 19 March 2016


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Summer Films from Camp Reel Stories

by Camp Reel Stories

Camp Reel Stories is a non-profit organization that empowers 13-18 year old young women with the skills to create their own media, to view current media critically and thoughtfully, and to aspire to leadership in their field. This summer, Camp Reel Stories' camp was extremely successful. Some of the films created in the summer were accepted into local film festivals, such as the Noe Valley Girls Film Festival and Oakland's Short, Short Film Festival! Camp Reel Stories is excited to announce that all the summer 2016 films have now been published!

Check out some of the films below!


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Celebrating 20 Years of GirlVentures!

by GirlVentures and their alumnae

Currently celebrating our 20th anniversary year, GirlVentures’ programs empower girls to develop and express their strengths through transformative outdoor adventure and leadership programs. Participants become healthy, confident leaders, allies with one another, and environmental stewards.

Through Girlz Climb On, our 9-week mentored after school program, girls are paired with women volunteers and learn to rock climb, while participating in activities around trust, identity, social justice and leadership.

Check out what our alumnae have to say (below) about their time with GirlVentures!




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