GirlsBuild summit focused on empowering young women

| November 30, 2023 | 0 Comments

One thousand girls from schools throughout Los Angeles filled the Academy Museum’s David Geffen Theater on Nov. 13 for a citywide summit organized by GirlsBuild. The annual event brings young women together with prominent female figures in the community.

MAYOR KAREN BASS is presented with a specially made GirlsBuild trophy by Larchmont Charter student Jackie Olano during the summit.                  Photo courtesy of GirlsBuild

The girls gathered to hear Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass, the first woman to hold this position; Jacqueline Stewart, the Academy Museum’s director and president; and Councilwoman Nithya Raman. They also watched the movie “Barbie.”

GirlsBuild’s mission is to empower young women, foster leadership and create social change in their communities. This year, Girls Academic Leadership Academy (GALA) and Larchmont Charter School (LCS) high school were two of the local public schools chosen to participate in the summit.  Each participating school has a club that is tasked with creating a project focused on civic engagement, health and wellness and digital skills.

HER’D, THE ZINE created for the GirlsBuild project.
                                              Photo by Stacy Mahony

LARCHMONT CHARTER girls proudly pose at the summit outside the Academy Museum with their zine.
                                                             Photo by Stacy Mahony

Of the numerous participants, LCS was highlighted as a success story at the summit for its bimonthly magazine (a “zine”) called “HER’d.” The zine has been distributed on the LCS campus and scattered at random locations in the community and was brought to the summit. Student members wrote and drew anonymously about issues they feel need attention. Topics range from how to ride the bus safely, the frustration of “mansplaining” and the origin and meaning of provocative words.

Stacy Mahony, the host of the LCS group and a teacher at the school, says, “I have seen an incredible amount of growth and leadership emerge” from the group over the years. She adds, “I am honestly inspired by them every single day.” One of her students, Jackie Olano, was chosen to interview Mayor Bass at the summit.

Leslie Aaronson, a resident of La Brea Hancock and chief program officer of LA Promise Fund, which sponsors GirlsBuild, said the girls involved “report feeling more confident in their leadership and communication skills as a result of building community.”

The summit activities continued with a day of service on Nov. 18 where 250 volunteers created 2,500 hygiene kits that were distributed to organizations through the city.

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Category: People

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