On National Take Our Daughter/Son to Work Day in April, four girls from West Oakland Middle School went to congress for the day – with a larger group from Girls Inc. affiliates all over the country – and heard from women serving as Congressional Representatives. The most impactful part of the event for the girls was their small group conversation with Representative Sara Jacobs, from California’s 53rd District which represents parts of San Diego and surrounding suburbs. The girls had the opportunity to ask Rep. Jacobs questions about growing up as a girl, going to college, and choosing her career path.
The girls felt prepared for this session from their previous experiences on field trips with Girls Inc. of Alameda County’s corporate partners during program, and used skills from Sisterhood sessions to be open with their feelings, challenges and what it means to be a girl. Elita Y., 8th grade, shared that in Girls Inc. after school program, “we always talk about women who did good things,” and “how to become the person we want to become.” This opportunity was one where the girls got connect with a woman making a difference in her community and country in real time. Rep. Jacobs shared her experience as a woman in politics and inspired the girls to be strong, smart and bold in the face of tough times on their own paths. The girls felt that they had a lot in common with the Congresswoman after hearing her personal challenges and how she overcame the social and systemic barriers that were on her path to Congress.
The girls who were selected for this opportunity have all shown interest in politics, community activism, and social justice. As Gawahara A., 6th grade, put it, “Well, I always loved politics and so I wanted to be in it. Also talking to someone with the experience just really makes it more interesting.” The girls felt inspired by their time with the Congresswomen and said that they’d like to go back again next year if they can. They walked away feeling hopeful and with some good advice: Follow their dreams, Do not be afraid, and Be unapologetically yourself, no matter what negativity you hear from others.