About 24 percent of girls, compared to 19 percent of boys, in middle school and high school experienced bullying in 2017, the National Center for Education Statistics reports.
And for a decade now, Empowered Flower Girl – a Detroit-based organization founded by Rasheda Kamaria Williams in 2010 – has been working hard to change this.
“It’s a social enterprise on a mission to transform how young people relate to others and to themselves,” says Williams, who mentors girls in metro Detroit.
Her organization leads workshops in schools designed to improve communication between students and prevent bullying online and in person.
“In one of the schools we work at, some of the girls were having some beef,” she says. “After the workshop, the teacher said the girls were actually able to settle that.”
She adds, “We all have a low self-esteem day, and it’s about how you express yourself at that moment – there are different ways you can vent that are healthy.”
A special celebration
To mark its 10th anniversary and Women’s History Month, the organization hosts its EmPOWERing 21st Century Girls 2.0 event on Thursday March 26, 2020. It features activities to open up a dialogue across generations and a panel featuring local female entrepreneurs and activists.
“When we have conversations across generations, we realize we’ve actually experienced a lot of the same things,” she says. “It should be our goal to make things easier for the next generation.”
The event 5:30-7:30 p.m. at ArtBlock Detroit on 1411 Holden St. in Detroit. Admission is free, or pay $20 for a VIP purchase that includes a gift bag and reserved seat. RSVP on Eventbrite.
Time to get inspired
In the spirit of Women’s History Month, we asked Williams to share three women who inspire her. Here’s who she chose.
- Malala Yousafzai. “As a youth advocate, I admire young people who stand up for change. One young woman who continues to inspire me is Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani activist for female education who was shot by the Taliban as a teen,” Williams says. “Her courage and commitment to education motivates me to keep going in the face of adversity.”
- Rosa Parks. “Her activism and advocacy for women’s rights is empowering,” she says. “Many people only know her for refusing to give up her seat on the bus in Montgomery, but she has a powerful legacy of community organizing on behalf of girls and women.”
- Mary Williams. “I am inspired by the legacy of my grandmother, Mary Williams, who passed away in January (of 2020),” Williams says. “She was a selfless person who not only raised her biological children but also raised her nieces and nephews as well as cared for children in the neighborhood.”