On Monday July 14th, 2019, three audacious girls boarded a plane for the first time to attend the 2019 Girl Up Leadership Summit. Their sponsor, mentor, and teacher was with them for what would be an unforgettable week in Washington D.C.
That mentor is me and I am so grateful for the opportunity to educate and develop our youth. I am passionate about empowering girls to be the changemakers in their communities. I believe it is so important for young girls to know how much they matter in making this world a better place. That is why they attended this conference. It was amazing to see their faces light up when they met Monique Coleman or Ayanna Pressley. These ladies were not the only celebrities in the room by far. Many others were there to shed light on the challenges many girls and women still face, and to show what is possible when you organize and fight for change. They were true leaders, the CEOS, the Founders, the Presidents of extraordinary organizations.
It was also very encouraging to see so many girls from around the world show love to each other. Yes, love! Girls from diverse backgrounds conversed in hour-long sessions, and worked hard to have a deep understanding about the problems that still persist for everyone. I watched my girls engage with other people their age. I saw them ask questions, use their voice to share their opinions, and take notes on new information. I watched them soak up their history at the National Museum of African American History and Culture, the National Air and Space Museum, the monuments, and statues.
The girls were able to see the White House, the Lincoln Memorial, the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, the World War II Memorial, as well as lobby in the House of Congress for a day to better see how decisions are made. They also were able to visit the Capitol Building.
Lastly, as we shared one of our last meals together at the historic Old Ebbitt Grill, my girls expressed how grateful they were that people believed in them. They could not believe how far away they were from home or how many new things they did. This experience confirmed even more for me that investing in kids is always worth it. They showed me that this will always be my passion and purpose. In this new year (2020! Wow?!), I hope that more kids are inspired to chase their dreams and fight for what is possible.