Girl Day, Every Day

photo-1475900655785-188368dce62aAfter last week’s celebration of International Day of the Girl, created by the United Nations five years ago, a flood of social media posts from women all around the world began to circulate and pop up like bright red poppies on an early Spring day. Women were taking stances from all socioeconomic backgrounds, cultures, race, religion, political affiliations, and ages. The day was created to spread awareness about the dark realities and unique challenges confronting today’s 1.1 billion girls. Women were using their social media platforms as if to say “I am celebrated and I celebrate my sisters I have never met. I stand with the ones who are unjustly trapped in pain and darkness. I don’t know you, but I see you and I love you.”

As I sat up in bed with my coffee that morning and scrolled through my feed of powerful images from around the world, captivating articles, and even a sobering speech by First Lady, Michelle Obama, I felt overcome with the thought that although we have a long way to go, the strides being made in this time are colossal. People are taking a stand and using their voices. The last few years has brought an acceleration of sorts- an awareness, urgency, and boldness from everyday women (and men) doing something and anything in the most creative of ways to play their part to protect our girls.

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Though I am the only American that is part of the Sophie Hayes Foundation blogging team, I am still part of the community an ocean {and land} away. As a global community in this movement, I have come to realize what is one woman’s victory is every woman’s victory. We can make a difference right where we are.

Back in March, I had the privilege of visiting the Nobel Peace Center in Oslo, Norway. I walked into one of the museum rooms on the second floor that was pitch black and surrounded by little blue and white LED lights, rotating images of Nobel Peace winners on interactive screens and hauntingly whimsical music that drew me in. I walked up to one of the screens projecting a kind and pure face. It was Malala Yousafzai, the girl who stood up to the Taliban to fight for her right to go to school and was shot by them but miraculously survived. I love what she says- “When the whole world is silent, even one voice becomes powerful.”

One voice. That’s all it takes.

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Wherever you live and whatever your immediate environment is like, know that your voice carries the weight of a thousand mighty canons- meant to destroy injustices. While we still have many strides to take for our sisters at home and across the globe, I am thankful for a movement of men and women who use their voices to create new paths for us and those we lead. Every day that we love our sister next to us, help a co-worker, use our our voices to change the life of a girl or woman, then it makes it girl day, every day.

With love,

Nikki Mata, Justice Advocate

Los Angeles, CA

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