Girl Ambassadors for Human Rights

     Published on   Tagged under:    District News   

By Amanda Rothenberg, Contributing Writer

Emma Abt (Fowler), Leah Tucker (Nottingham), MeiLin Luzadis (Nottingham), Normesha Dennis (Institute of Technology at Syracuse Central), and Ny-Jalah Sabreen Rice (Institute of Technology at Syracuse Central): five girls from different walks of life. They go to high school, as tenth, eleventh, and twelth graders, like many other teenage girls. What is different about them is that they have been chosen to represent the Syracuse City School District as Girl Ambassadors for Human Rights. This program seeks to educate women in the US, Sri Lanka, and Chile about the lives of women and the difficulties they face in the countries they live in. These five young women, as Girl Ambassadors, will be able to address the Central New York Council of the Social Studies Conference on women’s rights in Albany. Together, they will attend the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women in action in New York City in March. Connecting with other women worldwide through social media outlets will give the girls a new outlook on the way others live.

To apply to this program, they each had to be recommended. Ny-Jalah received a few recommendations; her economics teacher told her to apply, as did her photography teacher and her school’s social worker. After nomination, the girls were chosen out of a large pool of applicants, all of whom presented the spirit of a humanitarian. Normesha Dennis says it is a privilege to be a part of this program, “There were a lot of girls” she states “And I was chosen… It is an honor."

A standout involvement for Ny-Jalah was the play “Mimi Kennedy Finds Matilda Joslyn Gage” with which she helped. It starred Mimi Kennedy, actress and activist, who played Matilda Gage, a strong leader in the woman suffrage movement. This play, performed at the Everson Museum of Art’s Hosmer Auditorium on October 3, was to raise money for the Girl Ambassadors for Human Rights program. The moments the girls spent in small groups with Mimi Kennedy were “significant” and “intimate”, Ny-Jalah described. Ny-Jalah felt lucky to work alongside a “woman so involved”. This is just one of the many “new experiences” for which MeiLin Luzadis joined the program. MeiLin is looking forward to meeting other girls in the program and learning about the struggles they must overcome as women.

Normesha’s “eyes have been opened to how women are really treated in the US."  She sees her role in this program as an “informer”; she will be able to tell young people her age about the lives of under privileged women in the world around her. And with that, she hopes that she will inspire change in those listening. All five young women are working towards this common goal. These Girl Ambassadors are ready to represent their schools, their district, and women just like them. It is an opportunity that will change their lives, and the lives of the other young girls they meet, forever.