Earlier this month, 36 girls and three mentors gathered for a local HerStory Summit at the Marcus Garvey Academy Media Center in Detroit. Here’s a Summit recap and photos from our Detroit Regional Coordinator, Cynthia Coble:
Everyone gathered together and sang and danced to the Hello Song, then assembled on the carpet near a photograph of Maya Angelou. Many of the girls already knew who Maya Angelou was upon seeing her photo. For those who were not familiar with her, we explained that she was an award-winning poet, writer, artist and civil rights advocate with a remarkable career that spanned over 50 years.
We then talked about how we as women and girls are naturally strong. Each HerStory mentor read aloud a stanza from Dr. Angelou’s poem, Phenomenal Woman. After listening to the poem, the girls returned to their tables and discussed it in small groups, then each group shared highlights from their discussions with the whole group. Some of the observations made by the girls were:
- “This is a poem about confidence.”
- “Maya Angelou is telling us that we should expect men to respect us.”
- “The part that says, ‘Now you understand just why my head’s not bowed’ means we should show confidence
Next, the girls were given post-it notes, markers and colored pencils, and were asked to identify ways that different parts of their bodies give them strength. Each group received a sheet of butcher paper on which they traced the form of one group member. They then placed the post-it notes on the appropriate areas of the body outline to identify the parts of their bodies that give them strength.
After each of the groups presented their projects to all the Summit participants, we wrapped up by singing the Farewell Song.
The powerful message of self-acceptance and self-respect in this poem beautifully affirms what the girls are regularly learning and practicing with their mentors in their weekly HerStory clubs. The HerStory curriculum promotes authentic listening and empowered self-expression in a safe, supportive all-girls environment. The results are increased strength of character, self-determination, self-esteem, independence and confidence in girls, as well as in the young women who serve as their mentors. From this place of strength, the girls begin a chain reaction of positivity that affects their families, friends and the community at large.
This is how — through the HerStory Campaign — we’re strengthening girls and giving them the leadership and social skills they need to become self-advocates and global citizens who will change the world! Many thanks and shooting stars to all the phenomenal leaders, mentors and girls in Detroit, for sharing about this inspiring Summit.
You can become a HerStory champion! To make a donation, sign up for our mailing list, and stay updated on our Summits and other activities, please visit our website. And follow us on social media, too. Liking and sharing our stories with your networks is one of the best ways you can help us amplify girls’ voices!