For the past two years, Woke Women has been meeting on Friday afternoons to give girls a comfortable space where truths can be spoken, heard, and appreciated. This year’s leaders, Emily and Haja, continue to nurture the seeds planted by founders Ari and Denelis to create a safe place where teens open their hearts and discuss a myriad of issues candidly and respectfully. “I came to Woke Women for the first time when we learned about micro-aggressions. I really liked it because I got to see the experiences and the perspectives of other girls my age, which broadened my thinking. After that, I continued to come back and make new friends; I even brought my friends so they could experience this community. Woke Women has made me feel more comfortable to speak out about the wrong things that I see,” said Domini Guscott (a junior at KIPP Academy Lynn Collegiate).
Topics discussed this year include: Intersectional Feminism, Goals- The Woman I am Becoming (inspired by Michelle Obama’s book Becoming), Sexual Assault in the Music Industry (Surviving R. Kelly), Gender Roles (witnessed in religion, patriarchal society and identities), Racism in School Systems, Dress Code (hypersexualizing black girls in dress code), Micro-aggression, Representation, Sexual Education, and Black Lives Matter. “Woke Women is truly an amazing experience. I love how we are able to come together as women and talk about the important social justice issues that affect us. Here at Woke Women, I feel supported and loved. The food is always great, and the experience is amazing,” said Hannah (a senior at KIPP Academy Lynn Collegiate).
This spring Woke Women met with a group of women as part of the Legacy Dialogues, a group run by Girls Inc. of Lynn supporter Marcel Quiroga, Founder, and CEO of TQM Wealth Partners. The mission of The Legacy Dialogues is to create a social movement that will take a stand on legacy and philanthropy as a way of life. “The purpose of the Legacy Dialogues Exchange is to exchange knowledge and ideas between supporters of non-profits and the people who use the services of the non-profit,” says Quiroga. Ten Girls from Woke Women met with 20 women including Girls Inc. of Lynn board members, donors and others who are interested in the mission of Girls Inc. “We wanted to bring people from different experiences and backgrounds to learn from each other,” said Quiroga. The theme of the discussion was “The Intersectionality of Feminism and Race. While the women shared their experiences on the subject, the girls educated the women about how being a girl of color adds a dimension to the challenges they face. “Often women of color don’t identify with feminism because at the top of the agenda is a discussion about equal pay, and that really doesn’t mean anything if you don’t have a seat at the table,” notes Quiroga, “The more you listen, the more you can accept, understand and collaborate” said Quiroga, “I hope that more people get on board with helping girls like those of Woke Women through these dialogues.”
“In my opinion, Woke Women was such an inspirational program. It helped me a lot on how to deal with people around me and taught me so much more. I really wish we could have this program again because it is so fun, and I got to pour out my ideas and express my thoughts on certain things. I love the food and the girls so much, especially all the topics we discussed,” commented Agnes (sophomore at Lynn Classical).