Black Female Summit inspires empowerment, respect

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Go get it!

This was the slogan of the first ever Black Female Summit, which on Sept. 29 covered many topics ranging from self esteem to colorism.

“We are encouraging the girls to figure out what their ‘it’ is, and go get it. Whether it is to get higher grades, go to college, live a healthy lifestyle, really anything they want,” says history teacher Ganae McAlpin-Toney.

Nearly every black female in the school attended this event. They were able to hear from speakers like Phyllis L. Clark, Student Representative Camille Allen, Ganae McAlpin-Toney and Principal Marcus Campbell. The speakers covered topics like empowerment and dream pursuing.

“It was really empowering and interesting.  It was so cool that we got the chance to hear all this information,” comments sophomore Divinity Sly-Thomas. “It helped me think about where I want to go.”

One of the other topics that was talked about is colorism.Colorism is the idea that being a lighter skinned black person is better than being a darker black person.  It segregates the black community and is noticed within ETHS, Chicago and all around the country.

“We want to be looked at as a race of people. We’re black. It doesn’t matter if you’re light skinned or dark skinned,” says McAlpin-Toney.

ABC News ran a test showing pictures of different black females with different skin tones. The same person was shown to each volunteer, but the person had a different skin color each time. Almost every time the person with lighter skin was chosen to be smarter, wealthier and better looking.

During the summit, the females went into breakout sessions within groups named after famous black females such as Serena Williams and Queen Latifah. In the breakout sessions they learned about three main topics: colorism, self-esteem and communication.

“It has been a really eye opening experience as a black female. I’m also half white so I haven’t gone through all the things that have been talked about, but it’s all been so interesting,” says sophomore Marta Bady.

“This has gone really well. I am extremely proud of these black females. They are very engaged and responding well to the information. Ms. Clark talked a lot about personal potential and I think they are learning from that,” comments Superintendent Eric Witherspoon.

The keynote speaker, Phyllis L. Clark, stressed that pursuing your dreams has five action steps: discipline, results, empowerment, assets and purpose, forming the aronym D.R.E.A.M.

“When I was younger I was a sidekick bully. I wasn’t the bully, I was the friend of the bully,” mentions Phyllis. “I wasn’t empowered, so I figured myself out and changed that.  I want these females to empower themselves.”

To conclude the summit, students were encouraged to sign a poster spanning the entire wall reading, “Black Lives Matter.”