Over 10,000 young women flooded the LA Convention Center on Friday December 15, 2017 to attend the Girls Build LA Leadership Summit. Five IUSD schools including
La Tijera Academy of Excellence Charter School, Monroe Middle School, City Honors High School, Inglewood High School and Morningside High School [representing 300 students] attended the summit with State Administrator Dr. Thelma Meléndez for an exciting morning of empowerment and hope.
“It was exciting to see our students in action and empowered,” said Dr. Meléndez. “I look forward to building upon today’s experience with our students and fostering their educational success.”
The Girls Build Summit was long-anticipated, but nothing could prepare the girls, the speakers, the chaperones, the sponsors, or the LA Promise Fund staff for the energy, the camaraderie, or the dancing that was to come.
From the first speaker to the last, there were encouraging words of wisdom that challenged our young women to not only listen but get involved. “Don’t just lean in, stand up!… Together we rise, and together we build!” spoke Hannah Harris, a young poet with Get Lit.
But, nothing could prepare these students for the energy that filled the room when former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton took the stage;10,000 girls sat up in their seats. It was a rare moment hearing from the woman who has broken one of the most important glass ceilings – to be the presidential nominee for the United States of America.
She commented about everything including how she stood tall in the midst of losing the presidential elections, to the importance of friendship, and the value of education.
“I don’t want anybody leaving here today feeling alone,” Clinton told the crowd. “I want every one of you to know, whatever has happened to you in your life, has happened to other people too. Whatever your dreams – you can seek out mentors and advisors. I hope that every remaining barrier –that still exists – that tells a young girl you can’t do that because you’re a girl – we tear down once and for all. It matters that we keep pushing the progress forward so that more women and girls can be whatever they want to be. People who want you to be powerful will tell you, like I will, that education is critical to your future.”
Hillary Clinton was followed to the stage by leaders and impressionists including Bozoma Saint John, Uber’s Chief Brand Officer; Olympian and designer Ibtihaj Muhammad; BeautyCon CEO Moj Mahdara; mitu Founder Beatriz Acevedo; CAA Agent & Founder of Latina, Christy Haubegger; BBDO New York Chief Marketing Officer Tara DeVeaux, and Dr. Knatokie Ford. There was a brief interlude for a meditation – with the 10,000 girls and Headspace founder Andy Puddicombe, followed by an inspiring talk by Senator Kamala Harris, and a closing video from Michelle Obama.
Girls Build LA is a program of the LA Promise Fund. It challenges young women from public middle and high schools in LA County to use STEM principles and 21st Century learning skills to effect social change.