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LREI's Maya G. '18 Speaks Out at UN for International Day of the Girl

On Wednesday, October 11th, fourteen students from Ileana Jiménez's feminism class attended UN International Day of the Girl event Girls Speak Out. Following the trip, Maya G. '18 expressed her experience as a participant. 
International Day of the Girl Child was declared by the United Nations in 2011. IDG takes place each year on October 11th, which is the same day Malala Yousafzai was shot in the face in Pakistan for pursuing an education and encouraging others to do the same. This summer, my English teacher, Ileana Jiménez, notified me about an opportunity that would combine social justice work with the performing arts that would take place at the United Nations for this year’s International Day of the Girl 2017. Teen girls from across the city were selected to perform a series of scenes marking this year’s theme, Justice for Girls.

This year’s Girl Speak Out! event at the UN included a diverse range of speakers from the Canadian Minister on the Status of Women, Maryam Monsef, to teenage girl activists from Brazil, South Africa, and even Brooklyn. Between speeches given by these girl activists and global leaders, three other teen girl actors and I performed monologues and scenes that had been sent in by girls from across the country and around the world. Even though they weren't standing onstage in the the United Nations Economic and Social Council chamber with us, there is no doubt in my mind that their stories were heard by everyone present.

It was so important to me to see my entire feminism class in the audience. Each year, Ileana brings this class to the UN for International Day of the Girl. She said, “This year’s IDG was particularly powerful because of how much it highlighted issues related to racism and sexism both nationally and globally, such as violence against girls in schools. The fact that both the girls and guys in this year’s feminism class felt connected to the stories the girl activists shared demonstrates how much the leadership of girl activists is needed to voice the concerns of the most marginalized communities.”

I agree. It was so important to me that as girls, we have a platform to share our own narratives with other young women and with adults in power who can make change by hearing the stories of girls’ lives around the world. The entire day emphasized the message that girls are powerful, seen, and certainly not alone and I am immensely proud to have been a part of it. - Maya G. '18