Our second meeting for the Strong Women Fellowship was centered around self-expression, in which we also discussed female and youth empowerment.
As teenage girls, all of us who attended have struggled with expressing our true selves at some point, whether that be religion, sexuality, political beliefs, looks, etc.
Before we went to the book talk to hear Emma Gray › and Alison Yarrow › speak, we got to have a more intimate conversation with Emma. When we talked to Emma, we got to learn about her life and how she got to where she is today as a senior editor at The Huffington Post. It was really cool for me to get to know someone like her on a more personal level, rather than just knowing of her as someone who has this amazing job and has published an amazing book.
She was able to give us advice about how it is okay to not know what you want to be when you’re a teenager and how even being a camp counselor through college rather than participating in fancy internships is okay, because no matter what, you’ll be able to figure out who you are, what you want to do, and find your place in society. I feel like that advice spoke to me and the other Strong Women fellows very personally, as many of us attend summer camp and want to be able to work on staff at those camps, but are often told that in the later years of college, you should be focusing on your career rather than being a camp counselor; Emma is living proof that doing things you enjoy before becoming a full time adult is completely okay.
If I don’t help to make change, then who will?
After talking to Emma about her life, book, and favorite Netflix shows, we got to have our own intimate conversation about being heard in society as young, Jewish women. During our conversation, I learned that I share a lot of common ground with the other fellows and feel even more connected to them now.
At the book talk that we attended after our other activities, I felt like I got to be at an in-person podcast. I learned so much about empowering myself and others, feminism today and where it originally started many years ago, and about what I can do to get my voice heard. The facts, opinions, and humor that Emma and Alison shared during the program led me to realize I’m not alone in what I believe in. No one is, really. It made me realize that I can help to make change right now and don’t have to wait until I’m able to vote. It made me realize that this nation is forever evolving and I need to celebrate all the little victories that I experience every day because it’s those that help to make a difference one day. If I don’t help to make change, who will?
It made me realize just how important young voices are, because my voice, the other Strong Women fellows’ voices, and youth voices every where are the voices of tomorrow. I left our meeting last night more empowered than I have felt in a long time and I feel as though I now have more confidence to express my true self and hope to instill that confidence in those around me. •