Last year, with support from Girls Leadership’s Empower Club, youth at Latitude High School in Oakland created and modeled in a photoshoot to embody strength, vulnerability, and body confidence. They held a creative showcase of their photos and poetry called “My Beautiful Body” at the Joyce Gordon Gallery in downtown Oakland to share their work with the community.
High school youth tell us they’re sick of sexual harassment, body shaming, and slut shaming. In our Empower Clubs these resources open the doors to self expression, self regulation, and self love for girls & gender-expansive youth. They learn and practice skills ranging from mindfulness tools and discussing social issues like boundaries or consent. Programs like these are opportunities for young leaders to build the worlds THEY imagine.
“With my body, I am definitely like very insecure, but when I am in (Girls Leadership programs) spaces where I can see myself being represented… it’s like a really good space for me to be myself,” said Imani, a program participant, adding that their classmates who were initially closed off in the photoshoot process said things like “I feel great because in these pictures I got to express myself” after seeing the photos taken by artist Chloe Jackman.
The dedication and thoughtfulness of our program managers truly shines with projects like this. “It was absolutely inspiring for me to witness these young folks and their commitment to each other’s growth. Their desire for new narratives and spaces where bodies are appreciated calls us all to reflect on the power of creative expression and the power of our words,” Alie Jones, California Program Manager at Latitude High School.
To bring an Empower Club and our professional development training to your school or community-based organization, please send us a note.
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