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Invest in Yourself

Photo credit:  Janet Rogers, Division of Strategic Marketing and Communications

Follow Your Passion, Plan for Your Future

Approximately 300 high school girls listened in a self-imposed silence as several speakers urged them to embrace their passions and encouraged them to follow their dreams, including Black Girls Rock! founder Beverly Bond.

“I am a youth advocate, a leader, a DJ and a Black Girl who Rocks,” said Bond. “I was proud of being a black girl, and you should too.”

A DJ who is known for her passion and ability to read a crowd, Bond spoke about her love of music and her to journey to becoming a celebrated, female DJ and a model.

Bond addressed the students of color at the High School Connection Day, sponsored by the UMKC Women of Color Leadership Conference. High schools in the metro Kansas City area are invited to participate in the event each year.

The students also had an opportunity to attend workshops throughout the program. Topics included “Destination College: Tips for Getting in and Navigating the System;” “See It! Believe It! Do It!;” and “Ain’t Nobody Got Time for That: The Rise of the Ratchet” facilitated by Kimberly Johnson and Lashaundra Randolph.

Johnson and Randolph conducted two workshops, which discussed the ratchet culture – a culture dominated by those who may be dramatic, ill-mannered and devoid of social graces; and how it contrasts with the reality of the larger world.

The packed sessions, filled with mostly high school juniors and seniors, conveyed circumstances where both might be accepted. Students embraced the value in being on the “other side of the ratchet culture.”

“We discussed the importance of assuming leadership roles in high school, developing skills that will transfer to college and to their careers,” said Johnson.

KPRS 103 radio personality Julee Jonez challenged the girls to love and accept themselves as they prepare for their futures.

“Have a vision and invest in yourself,” said Jonez. “You are key to what happens in your future.”

Founded by Bond in 2006, Black Girls Rock! works to strengthen the self-esteem and self-worth of young women of color through empowerment and mentoring women and girls in the arts. She also encouraged dialogue and analysis of the ways in which women of color are portrayed in the media.

|Wandra Brooks Green, Division of Strategic Marketing and Communications


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