October 11 is the International Day of the Girl Child, a United Nations observance begun in 2011. The day draws attention to the state of girls in the world, which is often a grim picture. Perhaps most important, it also involves girls directly in the work of making change.
In this country, the observance is called the Day of the Girl, and is a movement led by girls. Their website lists their central beliefs:
- Girls are the experts on issues that affect girls. The solutions to these issues must come from girls. Their voices need to be centralized and elevated in social justice conversations.
- Girls from marginalized communities must be central in conversations about social justice issues involving those communities.Truly effective social change cannot come without girls’ leadership.
- Girls’ issues are intersectional. We must intentionally include people who are different from ourselves in our social change work. Otherwise we will not be able to make a meaningful impact — in fact, we could even do damage to huge populations of girls.
This list impressed me as I began my research, and I was curious to meet these girls who understood so clearly a process many of us are still learning. So I contacted them and asked if someone on their Action Team would be interested in doing an interview with me for the Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona blog. I quickly got a reply from someone who said she would bring my request to their planning meeting.
A week later, I got the news that Hannah Hildebolt, age 17, of the Day of the Girl Action Team would talk with me. We made our arrangements, and I am happy to present that interview here.
How did you get involved with activism, particularly the Day of the Girl (DOTG)?
My activism stems from two things: my AP World History class and the camp I used to attend, the Center for Talented Youth (CTY). CTY is a very liberal community, and many of the attendees are activists, so I picked up a lot of interest in social justice while I was at camp. During the school year, this interest was heightened because I was taking a world history course over two years, and the teacher was quite clearly interested in axes of oppression and activism in general. You could say that CTY gave me the modern context for my activism and the history class gave me the historical one. In late 2015, one of my CTY friends recommended that I join DOTG as a way of turning my social justice interests into action. After checking out DOTG’s media, I applied and was chosen for an interview. The rest, as they say, is history. Continue reading