Friday, May 3, 2013

Girlvolution 2013 No Apologies


Forgive me because I am going to start this recap on blog post Girlvolution 2013 on a seemingly unrelated topic but I’m going to try and bring it back around. 

Forgive me because it was about something my partner brought to my attention last night at a restaurant, and blog posts mentioning private conversations between couples can be annoying.  
While ordering, the female server kept on apologizing over and over again for not having the particular items listed on the menu.  My man,  a restaurant manager and server himself, eased her anxiety with a "no worries" and a smile. When she walked away, he leaned into the table and whispered that he "never apologizes" when items have run out on the menu and just states it as a fact to the customer.  

Always empathic to a female server in a sexist world, I attributed his non-apologies to his male privilege. He agreed.
Forgive me if you think this is obvious, or even if you think this is a sweeping generalization but females are socialized to apologize too much (or think they are offending more than they are) in everyday communication and interaction.  Actually, don't forgive me, because I have decided I am not asking for forgiveness or apologize for this statement.  
The ActiveVistas of 2013 taught me how to do this.

Which brings me to our 4th Annual Girlvolution Conference, held a couple of weeks ago at Rainier Vista Boys and Girls Club, where attendees witnessed 11 young women speak their truth and not apologize for their views and raising their voices on 

various social justice issues pertaining to their lives.  Even in this supportive space, many were asked to apologize and retract at certain moments when adults did not agree with them.   And like the capable facilitators they are, the ActiveVistas of 2013 held their own, listened, and responded with their own truths and perspectives.
Here are a few of my favorite moments reported by attendees:
  • In a workshop about Teen Gangs, one ActiveVista educated her audience when she reported the original meanings of the acronyms for the famous gangs CRIPs and BLOODs. BLOOD means Brotherly Love Over Oppression and Destruction while CRIPs means Community Restoration in Progress.  Many commented on the radical misconception of what it means to be in a gang and family. 
  •  In both the Parental Drug and Teen Justice workshops, the ActiveVistas had very brave, vulnerable and respectful dialogues with their parents who were in attendance about their very personal topics.
  • In what seemed to be the most controversial workshop from one of our youngest ActiveVistas about Teen Prostitution, opinions divided rooms and inspired heated debate amongst adults and youth within the workshop.  The ActiveVista controlled the room and responded with grace and power.
We as staff were fascinated and moved by the incredible response the girls got and the passion they pulled out of their workshop attendees.  The community who responded with respectful support of the ActiveVistas support obviously read our Program Manager Molly Pencke's blogpost.
Here are a few feedback comments we received.
·               "It's just so beautiful to see young women speak about issues many others don't know how to speak about."
·               "The opportunity for young people to share, confront challenging issues in supportive environment was inspiring!"

·               "Hearing the girls’ voices!! Seeing them act on and with their skills, talents and succeed!"
·               "I loved the inter- generational, cultural, and gender involvement."

Some PV staff and volunteers at the end of the day.  To see more photobooth pictures, see our facebook page!

In addition to individual support, we had much community resource support from:

We are so thankful to everyone who put such hard work into this event. Thank you thank you thank you to the volunteer committee, Powerful Voices staff and all attendees.

Don't apologize for not being there this year if you did not make it, just make sure you will be there for GIRLVOLUTION 2014!


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