It's easy to get down about the state of being female; every day it seems the world dreams up a new way to shame and oppress women. But for every "legitimate rape," war on choice, and violent reaction to empowered femininity, there's an amazing organization working tirelessly to support and honor women. Too often, these groups don't get the cred they deserve.
Today we're giving some mad ups to Girls Write Now, a NYC-based non-profit that connects female high school students with professional women writers. These mentoring relationships can span years, and mentees share their impressive work in writing workshops, public readings, and anthologies.
Last night, this amazing org celebrated 15 years of nurturing young writers with the first-ever Girls Write Now Awards. Honorees included director Tamra Davis (executive producer of the upcoming Kathleen Hanna doc The Punk Singer), superstar advertising exec Emma Cookson (who, among other things, is behind that Google ad that makes me all verklempt), and author Tayari Jones (whose critically acclaimed works include Silver Sparrow, Leaving Atlanta, and The Telling).
Denitia Odigie closed out the night with an acoustic performance of "Yella Yella," an ode to young Pakistani education activist Malala Yousafzai. The song was co-written by singer-songwriter Suzzy Roche and several participants in the Girls Write Now mentoring program.
Girls who write, honoree Tayari Jones noted, are often dismissed as nice and obedient. She says the moment a college mentor first called her a writer was extremely powerful; she began to see herself as not just a girl who wrote, but an intellectual and an artist in her own right.
This is what I love about this organization--though it boasts a stunningly high graduation and college-matriculation rate, its main goal is to impress on young women that their voices matter. Snaps for that!