Contributed by: Elena Carey
Jada is attending We Are Girls Houston on April 29th. She and her mom, Tracey, spoke with us about their thoughts on being a girl, having GEN in Houston, and attending We Are Girls for the first time. Big thanks to Jada and Tracey!
What does being a girl mean to you?
What it means to be a girl is to inspire girls all over the world who are not able to do it for themselves, who don’t have parents and people to help them.
What does it mean to you to be a girl in Houston, Texas?
It feels good to try new stuff in Houston and it feels good to be in Houston because it has the sun rising and a roof over my head.
Is there anything that has ever been hard for you, being a girl?
Yes. Getting my period.
Are there things that you and your friends or girls you know from school like or dislike about being girls?
Yes, I love being a girl to show people that hair, clothes. To show people that girls can like cars and other that aren’t pink. They can like boy like boy colors. Nobody can bully you because you like a boy color. Nobody can bully you because you like something a boy likes.
Have you ever attended an event similar to the We Are Girls Conference?
Would you be excited to have that kind of event in Houston?
What makes an event like that exciting?
An event just for girls is exciting. It is inspiring to people all over the world. We get to do activities. It means learning new things and to have a good group of people.
Why is it important for girls to feel powerful?
Because some girls are afraid to step up to bullies. They’re afraid that people will talk about them just based on what they look like, the clothes they’re wearing, if they don’t have a lot of money.
Do you have any examples of times you’ve seen bullying at your school?
Has it happened to any of your friends? What was it like?
Yes, it was kind of shocking because she really doesn’t mess with anybody and she’s a good student. She was sad and after she realized that they don’t have what she has, she stood up to them.
What were they bullying her about?
About what she was wearing, that she was ugly.
What did she say when she stood up to the bullies?
She said “no I’m not ugly” and to stop it.
Have there ever been times when you have seen girls that are afraid to stand up to bullies?
Yes. They had a sad face and would cover their eyes because they were crying.
What makes you think it is important to stand up to bullies?
I think it’s important to stand up to bullies to tell them they don’t have to be mean to other people.
What are some of the challenges that you’ve seen Jada or her friends face as young girls?
For her personally, she just turned 9 on Monday. She got her period at the beginning of the year, so I saw some changes. She was kind of moody, she developed more, she’s maturing. She developed at a young age compared to other kids in her class.
Why is it important for for girls to feel powerful and have skills and knowledge and resources that allow them to feel powerful?
Girls should feel powerful because there’s a lot of the same opportunities for girls and boys. Girls should always be able to do things they want to do, like sports. If you want to do something, you should feel like you’re able to do it.
Why are you excited to have Girls Empowerment Network and specifically the We Are Girls conference, or programs similar to it, in Houston?
I think it should be everywhere. I think from 3rd to 8th grade is a good age for it to be offered because that is really when girls start to mature, mind-wise and body-wise. I think it is very inspiring to let girls and parents know that everybody is going through the same thing. As a parent you don’t always know what’s going on, but you witness it. You don’t always remember how it is to be a young girl. The things I hear Jada discuss with her friends are topics I didn’t think girls her age would talk about. I think bringing We Are Girls to Houston is good because some parents don’t really teach and explain to their kids things that we should.
What were some of the topics the Jada and and her friends talk about?
One of the main things I was surprised about was that they were talking about boys. About fashion, like hair and nails, dance. But they’re still at the age where they play with Barbie dolls. They also tell scary stories. I was really surprised though that all the girls have their own personalities, so they got really emotional about stuff. Some girls got jealous over who was playing with the dolls because they felt excluded.
Why are you enrolling Jada in the We Are Girls Conference? What makes you want to bring her to that even specifically?
I think it would be a good experience for her. I think she will meet a lot of people and experience a lot of things. She’s involved in a lot of things now, but I think she will appreciate herself more for being a girl. I think it will be very inspiring for her. She will tell other people about it and they might want to get involved.
Speaking of other people that might want to get involved, what would you say to other parent that are considering enrolling their daughters in the We Are Girls Conference?
I would encourage them, because they, like myself, might not know this existed. I got the information from one of her teachers last year. I think there are a lot of parents that don’t know anything about it and if they knew about it, they would be very interested in bringing their girls. We have a conference at church, but I think that since this involves the whole community and schools, it will be a good experience. Even having a club for girls would be good. There’s cheerleading and stuff like that, but there isn’t a program to help girls with what they’re going through.
What topics would you want covered in a girls club vs. a boys club? What topics would girls need that boys wouldn’t?
First, getting your menstruation cycle because a lot of people don’t know what they is and a lot of kids can’t talk to their parent. Talk about the development of their body. It’s not all about looks or clothes or money. Talk about developing friendships. Talk about not to just focus on boys.
What would you say to somebody who is scholarship-ing a girl to the We Are Girls Conference by donating $30?
The reason why we need this is to help kids and inspire them. They will be able to learn a lot of things that they don’t know.
Jada and Tracey
Is there anything else you wanted to say about girlhood or why it is important for girls to have access to resources like We Are Girls? Any final thoughts?
Jada: I think that girls can do a lot of stuff. They can do a lot of things that girls think only boys can do.
Tracey: I think the conference will be good for girls because a lot of girls don’t have anybody to talk to. They may not have a sister or a mother figure who is present. They may just be afraid to talk to that person that is there for them because they may abuse them or yell at them. At the conference they will be able to ask questions and tell people how they are feeling. At this age it is important for them to feel like they can have somebody to talk to.
Would you like to contribute to We Are Girls to support empowering young girls like Jada? Visit bitly.com/wearegirlshouston to give.