On Wednesday, October 11, the Girls Like Me Project hosted its 6th annual Chicago Day of the Girl: Global Sisterhood in observance of the UN International Day of the Girl.
The event was held at the Studio Movie Grill in Chatham on the South Side of Chicago. More than 125 women and girls attended the event. Special guests included VuyiswaTulelo, Consul General- South Africa; Peggy Parfenoff, President- World Chicago, Appreccia Faulkner, CEO- Global Strategists Association; and Perri Small, host WVON Radio.
“Our mission emphasizes global sisterhood,” shared La’Keisha Gary-Sewell, CEO of Girls Like Me Project. “Which is why we continue to be humbled by the opportunity to create a space that includes the experience and voices of Chicago girls in the global conversations on girls empowerment. It is critical that they know they matter in a global context.”
Highlights of the evening were performances by Ayodele Drum and Dance, and teen dancer Maya Unique, music artist JazStar, and a mini fashion show which featured hand-crafted jewelry piece made in Mali.
Felicia Apprey-Agyare of The African L.I.F.E assembled a collective of diasporic women who represented seven countries. The women shared their global perspective and taught girls how to say “sister” in their native languages. The seven countries were South Africa, Liberia, Ghana, Ethiopia. Kenya, Nigeria, and Mexico.
GLMPI took the opportunity to announce its new initiative and partnerships that provide life-changing international experiences for the girls we serve. Through a partnership with Global Strategists Association and Global Glimpse, GLMPI will sponsor travel to Latin America in Summer 2018 for two high school students from low economic backgrounds.
“We want to bring diverse groups of students together to see the world,’ contends Jamelyn Lederhouse, Chicago Regional Manager of Global Glimpse. “This whole experience is to help you develop as a leader, and also to help you develop community. We work at Global Glimpse to help America’s next generation to become responsible global citizens You cannot do that staying right here. You have to get out of our comfort zone physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually. When you come back you are stronger you have a global understanding that goes beyond your peers’ perspective and that you will make a greater impact in your community and abroad.”
Consul General Tulelo of South Africa offered a sense of humor, wisdom and guidance to the girls, with an emphasis on self love.
“There are 52 countries on the continent of Africa and depending on which part of the country you come from, cultures are extremely different and are not the same,” explained Consul General Tulelo. “ It’s wonderful to celebrate this day as declared by the United Nations, but there’s an even bigger responsibility as young women ourselves. There is a bigger responsibility in how we project ourselves to the world. What is it that defines you? As a people we are being misrepresented. So what do we want to say about ourselves? We are young women of courage, we are young women of integrity, of high levels of intellect and we will not be shaken. We are young women who know where we come from and know where we are going to and nobody is going to deter us from that. But most importantly we know that we are people for the fight for justice, equality and nondiscrimination. It is important to never ever be ashamed of who we are. We should celebrate who we are. We should celebrate our heritage.” Watch video of Consul General Tulelo’s full remarks.
The Consul General’s commentary were the prelude to the culminating screening of the My Black is Beautiful film, Imagine a Future, which critically examined self esteem and the impact of beauty standards on Black girls. The film reinforced the Global Sisterhood theme of the event as it chronicled the personal journey of Janet, a teen from Delaware, who traveled to South Africa to learn more about herself and depictions of beauty.
The organization also honored three local women who exemplify the GLMPI mission. Honorees included:
Apprecia Faulkner (Global Connections Award)
Lesley Martinez Etherly (Mission Accomplished Award)
Perri Small (Lifetime Achievement Award)
While receiving her award, Perri Small demonstrated solidarity in the fight for social justice by taking a knee.
Watch video of event highlights.
View photos from event below. All photo credit: Kymon Kyndred