Leah Allen '22
Eight Sacred Heart Greenwich students participated in the 2019 United Nations (UN) International Day of the Girl Summit, October 11, a day centered around promoting female empowerment and basic human rights, according to un.org. The summit brought women from all over the world together to share their stories and reflect on what being a girl means to each of them.
The Sacred Heart participants were sophomore Kayla Malcolm-Joseph, juniors Destini-Joy (DJ) Green, Yvestlana Lafontant, Reyana Lappots, and Sasha Rivera, and seniors Rachael Ali, Pamela Rosenburgh, and Cassidy Willie-Lawes. Two faculty members, Mrs. Maureen Considine, Director of Upper School Campus Ministry and Ms. Judith Scinto, Upper School Spanish Teacher and Global Scholars Program Coordinator, joined the students on the trip.
The summit, titled 2019 UN Summit: Girls Speak Out!, was a free event hosted by the UN Headquarters in New York City. On this day, young women and activist groups met to reflect on issues facing girls everywhere and discuss ways to address these issues, according to dayofthegirl.org.
The students began the day visiting the Society of the Sacred Heart’s UN office. The Sisters of the Society of the Sacred Heart introduced them to the work of the UN non-governmental organizations (NGO) Office and the initiatives of the Society of the Sacred Heart at the UN. The first part of the Society’s two principal aims is to inform members of the wider Sacred Heart community about critical world issues. The second facet of the Society’s mission is to allow its members to add “their experience, reflection, and analysis to the international policy debate,” according to rscj.org. Kayla spoke about the Society of the Sacred Heart’s global impact.
“It was an absolute honor to see members of our school community working so hard to make a change, and to see how their faith compels them to promote female education,” Kayla said.
The girls immersed themselves in an atmosphere of female empowerment for the rest of the day as the group spent the afternoon participating in the UN International Day of the Girl Summit. The summit aimed to inspire young girls everywhere to speak out and allow their voices to be heard and granted them the opportunity to “show leadership and reach their full potential,” according to dayofthegirl.org.
During the summit, women from all over the world had the opportunity to share their individual female experiences. Some young women chose to share their experiences in the form of spoken word poetry, while others chose to speak to the group about women’s issues that they felt needed recognition. Representatives from different organizations also came together to speak about the efforts that they have made to advocate for young girls.
Rachael discussed her thoughts on how the summit deepened her desire to combat injustice, a desire sparked by her Sacred Heart education.
“I’ve been passionate about girls education ever since I read Malala Yousafzai’s autobiography, I Am Malala, in sixth grade,” Rachael said. “My visit to the UN only cemented this drive within me to combat ignorance through education, because true progress comes through open conversations which lead to understanding and empathy.”
Featured Image by Leah Allen ’22
Updated: 10/18/2019 A previous version of this article incorrectly stated the number of students who attended the article as thirteen.