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From a Shy Girl to a Powerful Woman

Posted by Rukia Brooks on April 27, 2015 at 11:08 AM

This conference means a lot to me, not solely on the grounds of doing social justice activism, but also the community it brings forth as we inspire and motivate younger conference goers to take up action and find things they’re passionate about. 

My name is Rukia Brooks I am a junior Computer Science major at University of South Carolina. I have had the wondrous opportunity to go to the National Young Feminist Leadership Conference for the past three years, and for the past three years I have learned something radically new about myself and the society we live in. NYFLC is an event that provides an opportunity for members of our organization, The Feminist Collective, to see the relics of our country as we try to improve the nation and the world we live in for the future.

11084237_10206361713231660_308484307503042039_o.jpgThis year I was given the opportunity to speak at the conference - two years past, the shy girl I was would have never dreamed of doing something so bold. It is here at the National Young Feminist Leadership Conference where women are empowered and told their voice matters. Where all voices matter, and where change can happen if someone so desires it. It is an opportunity to grow and learn under the identity of a “Feminist”, and it is an opportunity in which we may bond with our fellow classmates on our trialing eight-hour road trip from Columbia, S.C. to Washington, D.C. We saw the sights and discussed leadership and problems facing our society today - ranging from issues such as race, gender, economics, S.T.E.M., education, international politics, LGBT+, and so much more. This year at the conference I spoke to the general body about claiming your gender and sexual identity and spoke on two panels, “Queering your Campus” and “Digital Activism and Harassment”.

Besides panels, there are also opportunities to network and meet new people - at the conference, I met one of my idols, Shireen Mitchell, who founded Digital Sisters, an organization that helps empower women through teaching computer skills. I also had the fortune of learning about human rights issues around the globe; we don’t just focus on the U.S., but internationally as well. We discussed issues of sex trafficking and education for all.

This conference means a lot to me, not solely on the grounds of doing social justice activism, but also the community it brings forth as we inspire and motivate younger conference goers to take up action and find things they’re passionate about. It is always a pleasure to see the younger members of our student feminist organization grow and channel their passions into actual change. There is also a remarkable amount of love, bonding, and comradery we all share by the end of such a tiring conference. We support each other through our new trials of leadership, help others secure internships, and drive hundreds of miles so we can hopefully have an impact in our communities, our states, our countries, and our world.  


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