The Young Women’s Advisory Council (YWAC) completed their fourth session where they learned about social justice and advocacy tools from Springfield activists, Shanique Spalding and Jynai McDonald.
The YWAC is comprised of twenty young women from ages 12-24 who have varying aspirations for Springfield’s future. During each session one can hear echoes of their dreams starting to come to fruition as they learn more about how to make a public impact. In the first November session the YWAC heard from Anne Marie Frisby Thomas, Springfield College’s School of Continuing Studies’ Campus Director, Carole McKenzie LCSW, and Abbie Emeigh, YWI Steering Committee member. Together they addressed race and gender identity, bias and the politics of language. The young women developed a deep understanding about the ways in which people experience discrimination and how they can ignite the fire in themselves to advocate for change.
As the young women started to identify how bias is reflected in policy, they embarked on the first session that introduced drivers of social change. Shanique Spalding, Western and Central MA Organizer for Planned Parenthood Advocacy Fund and Jynai McDonald, Western MA Regional Manager for Training Resources of America and an avid Springfield activist introduced methods for launching and implementing an issue campaign. Pictured below is Mattie Lou Marshall who participated in an activism role play where she confronted her principal and ROTC superior to persuade them to hire a female ROTC instructor. The session ended with a distant murmur, “hmmm…maybe I want to run for office on day.” Stay tuned to learn more about our YWAC. You will see them in your next board meeting, climbing the ladders in your organization, running for office, and shattering the glass ceiling.