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Young middle and high school girls mobilize voters

Summit participants included Compton Mayor Aja Brown

OW Staff Writer | 10/29/2020, midnight

In what will likely be the most important presidential election of their generation, more than 5,000 girls from middle and high schools in Southern California and throughout the U.S. are working together to form civic engagement “teams” to mobilize voters in their communities for the upcoming election.

Teams have assembled and taken on monikers such as “The Radical Rosies” at King Drew Magnet High School of Medicine & Science; “Change Agents” at Compton Early College High School; “Las Poderosas” at Sylmar Charter High School; and “The FLY Girls” at Southeast Middle School in South Gate. They are mobilizing communities creatively through unique strategies that often use digital technology to get their messages across to voters, virtually.

These teams form part of a year-long GirlsBuild Challenge, an initiative of LA Promise Fund, that challenges young women to be leaders in their community by identifying critical issues and creating innovative, community-driven solutions. All projects must center around three pillar issue areas: Civic Engagement; Health & Wellness; and STEM and College Access.

The challenge was launched via the GirlsBuild’20 Virtual Summit, hosted virtually on Oct. 15 in partnership with Michelle Obama’s voter participation nonprofit, When We All Vote. Guest speakers included L.A. City Council President Nury Martinez; U.S. Congresswoman Karen Bass; City of Compton Mayor Aja Brown; Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation CEO Nichol Whiteman; superstar and activist Becky G, and others.

“I want to recognize the GirlsBuild “Change Agents” team at Compton Early College High School for being one of the top ten teams in the GirlsBuild’20 Virtual Summit,” Brown said. “I am so proud of these young ladies, and I’ve had the privilege of seeing them grow and evolve over the years. I know that all of you powerful queens understand the importance of voting and we can never forget that many of our ancestors were denied the right to vote -- and we are forever indebted to the struggle for equality that granted all people of color and women to vote.”

GirlsBuild teams have participated in a Facebook Live Discussion With Secretary of State Alex Padilla on Voter Mobilization; hosted virtual info sessions for their community explaining what’s on the ballot; and painted rocks with messages like ‘Vote 2020’ and placed them around their neighborhood to remind people to vote.

“Los Angeles, California and the nation need strong leaders across every sector that reflect America’s beautiful diversity,” said Martínez. “GirlsBuild is cultivating tomorrow’s leaders by instilling in them leadership skills through interactions with powerful women of color from the private, public,, and non-profit sector. They also teach these girls to put that leadership into action by moving their networks of families, friends, and neighbors to vote in the most important election of our lifetime.”