As we celebrate the month of Black Women’s History, we would like to showcase Girls for Gender Equity (GGE), a Brooklyn, New York based intergenerational grassroots organization that develops feminist leadership among teens. Founded in 2001 by a first generation Haitian American social worker and activist, Joanne Smith, GGE has been working towards engaging communities of color to improve gender and race relations and socio-economic conditions for vulnerable youths and women.
GGE recognizes that there are currently existing issues of discrimination and segregation based on gender, race, and class. In response to these barriers, GGE is committed to empower girls and women to voice out their oppression and provide opportunities to live self-determined lives. GGE offers a platform for women to rise as leaders in their own communities through various programs that promote education, community organizing, and advocacy.
One of GGE’s prominent programs is Sisters In Strength (SIS). SIS is a youth organizing program for 15 young women of color entering 10th or 11th grade. Through leadership training and advocacy work, youth organizers are equipped to build awareness around gender-based violence in their communities. They also participate in peer-mentoring programs to further community engagement.
Programs like SIS empower young women to know that they do have a voice and their participation does make a difference in their communities.
GGE’s approach to promoting gender justice through cultivating leadership is rooted from the Founder and Executive Director, Joanne Smith’s belief that “leadership is doing the best you can with what you have, at the opportunity provided – its about showing up, even when it’s hard – and at times, it’s about having blind faith in your purpose.”
Girls for Gender Equity continues to foster the next generation of leaders. Young women of GGE will strive to end violence and achieve gender justice in our society.
Additionally, Girls for Gender Equity will be featured in the upcoming documentary that highlights Anita Hill titled “Anita”. Specials screenings are coming to NYC beginning March 21st.
If you want to learn more about the organization, make a donation, or volunteer for their programs, please visit their website at http://www.ggenyc.org/.
by Soo Hyun Noh, M.S. Candidate, The New School, Nonprofit Management