Strengthening Democracy Through Girls Empowerment
In this moment of deep consequence, every effort to remove barriers to voting and to provide opportunities for success is instrumental in ensuring a better future for LA County residents. Recognizing the role that girls and young women have in advancing efforts to preserve democracy and support others to become civically engaged, Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas introduced a motion co-authored with Supervisor Sheila Kuehl support the “Girls Build” initiative (Girls Build) and declares October 2020 as Girls Empowerment Month throughout the County of Los Angeles.
“It is our obligation to lead our communities through this moment that includes COVID-19, the resulting economic downturn, and a national reckoning with structural racism. By highlighting civic engagement and leadership, Girls Build encourages young women to become empowered to protect their communities and democracy as well,” said Supervisor Ridley-Thomas. “Engaging at a young age will have a measurable impact on their motivation as adults to address disparities and evoke social change, especially in communities of color.”
The motion notably calls upon LA County residents to learn more about the LA Promise Fund’s “Girls Build” initiative as it has a special focus on voter mobilization this year—at a time when it is needed most. In partnership with Michelle Obama’s When We All Vote, a non-profit nonpartisan organization, the LA Promise Fund will build a diverse coalition of 10,000 young women to register and pre-register to vote. Girls Build participants will double their coalition participation by setting a goal of registering 10,000 additional members of their families, schools, and communities across Southern California and throughout the nation to vote.
The motion also establishes October 2020 as Girls Empowerment Month throughout LA County. Showing continued support for Girls Build acknowledges the significant impact the initiative has on young women and girls who participate, and the significant impact the girls have, in turn, on their communities. In addition to encouraging LA County residents to familiarize themselves with the work of Girls Build, the motion also urges every LA County resident to register to vote and to consider volunteering to register others.
“Anything we can do to encourage young people to get involved in elections and to make sure every eligible person in the County casts a ballot has my vote!” said Supervisor Kuehl. “This motion will build an army of 10,000 young women of color to register their friends and family members and ensure that communities that are often under-represented are fully represented in 2020.”
Over the course of five years, Girls Build has provided stipends to participants and $50,000 in college scholarships awards each year to six winning Girls Build teams. Girls Build also celebrates gender equity and women’s success by introducing young women to hands-on opportunities in Science, Technology, Engineering & Math (STEM) education, panel discussions with women leaders, films that champion girls’ and women’s empowerment, and other unique events. Through these experiences provided by the LA Promise Fund, thousands of students can become change agents in their communities when faced with social issues ranging from women’s representation in STEM fields to voter engagement.
Learn more about Girls Build by visiting https://www.lapromisefund.org/girls-build/. Register to vote and consider volunteering to register others to vote by visiting http://lavote.net. And launched in 2018 by co-chairs Michelle Obama, Tom Hanks, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Janelle Monae, Chris Paul, Faith Hill and Tim McGraw, When We All Vote is changing the culture around voting using a data-driven and multifaceted approach to increase participation in elections. Learn more at http://whenweallvote.org.