Vision – Free to be me…
“I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something.” (Edward E. Hale)
Closing out this Voices of Our Future journey returns me to my first assignment – Freedom, Power, and Change – Web 2.0. My vision is simply summed in 4 words “Free to be me”…that is my vision for my life, community, and the world. Women and girls emboldened to dream, create, live, and inspire. Who are able to overcome barriers towards personal development and self-fulfillment. I see a world where stakeholders on feminine affairs are constantly being engaged to develop and enforce policies and programs that protect the fundamental human rights of women and girls globally.
Hale’s quote keeps me encouraged and reminds me that change always starts small. An idea birthed and nurtured to reality. One individual who dared to be free. Ruled by the heart and not reality. History has shown time and time again the power of one: Mother Theresa’s modeling of love to the poor and helpless, Abigail Adam’s revolutionary letters that spoke out against injustices, and Marian Anderson with an amazing contralto voice that broke open doors for black artists. I believe that if you read the biographies of such amazing women, you would find an underlying theme of passion for pursuing what excites the very core of their being complemented by a strong sense of personal intuition that is alive. Ordinary women with an extraordinary courage to dream, create, live, and inspire. I certainly do not equate myself with them, but hope to someday like them leave a legacy in my community that inspires girls dare to be themselves…
Throughout this VOF 2010 journey, I have shared with you the Threads of Our Fabric Project that was borne out of my personal experience as a first generation African teen immigrant and the subsequent adaptation process. As I continue collecting data and conducting interviews, I am amazed by the personal stories of women and girls who have transitioned to a new world. It has been one of the best experiences of my life! I have interacted with women who are heads of their households, young ladies with aspirations to be ballroom dancers, stay-at-home wives, professional photographers, budding architects, travel enthusiasts, engineer gurus, and fashion models. The passion with which each spoke about their journey thus far has inspired me.
I plan on starting an acculturation program for recently immigrant adolescent girls that transcends sensitization to the American system; providing them a safe environment to address important issues such as identity development and cultural values. A salient topic that has emerged as a result from the project is the profound internal tension that is created when attempting to process the differences in values between opposing cultures. How do you stay true to who you are in a new environment? The effects can be extremely overwhelming! Imagine this psychological strain on a young immigrant teen in addition to already trying to navigate the tumultuous period of adolescence. I remember feeling very isolated and all alone for a significant portion of my early years in America. My mother worked constantly and my school peers could not relate my situation. The lack of a support network would send me into bouts of severe inner withdrawal and home sickness.
Being a Voices of Our Future correspondent will provide me a platform to turn my immigration experience into action. With the increasingly transient nature of our global community, adolescents are caught in the translocation waves. I believe that they are a marginalized population, whose needs often go unrecognized because they are disconnected. Unable to seek help, unfamiliarity with one’s new environment, psychological stresses of adolescence…how do you cope?...As I have highlighted in past assignments; the support from being selected for this program would be priceless. It is an investment by World Pulse in the personal lives of women; empowering them dare to be their true selves. If I selected, I know that World Pulse will equip me with the training and skills to have a positive impact on the lives of recently immigrated African girls in the United States.