As a task force member, I represented Polished Pebbles Girls Mentoring Program at this week’s US Congressional Caucus on Black Women & Girls (CCBWG) 2nd Annual Chicago Symposium. This event is chaired by US Congresswoman Robin Kelly. This year’s symposium’s theme was “Woke” at All Ages: Inspiring Black Women Advocates Across Generations. The term “woke” is frequently used in the media and today’s culture to describe those who are socially aware of society’s challenges and shortcomings. And, “woke” can also signify someone who is actively engaged in advocacy work and solutions to attempt to address some of these issues.
The seminar sought to explore the importance of recognizing the enormous power wielded by Black women of all ages and stages, and identify ways to spur intergenerational dialogue and collaboration to make our advocacy efforts most effective for all Black women.
One of the things I’ve always been adamant about while building the Polished Pebbles organization over the years is that EVERYONE has a critically important role in developing more positive outcomes for our young people. This includes men, people of various ethnic and racial backgrounds, and women of all different ages. Mentors for our girls can be as young as their peers, or range to include some of our communities’ most mature elders. I think it’s critically important for our girls to learn from a wide variety of “voices” of wisdom from diverse mentors. And, it’s equally important for these wise and “woke” mentors to have the platforms to share their wisdom, and continue to grow as individuals right alongside our girls.
Society and life has no shortage of it’s own profound issues and crises, like the fatally violent white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, VA. So, there can’t be a shortage of “woke” women and girls across various generations and age levels who are ready to continue to stand up for justice, and humanity.