NEW YORK — On Saturday, March 12th, the Gye Nyame (pronounced Jean-Yuh-Me) Empowerment Project (GNEP), a New York-based non-profit, will, for its fourth year, bring together approximately 125 high school girls from throughout the New York City area to participate in a full-day empowerment Summit. GNEP is committed to the education, empowerment, and advancement of people of color. Its annual Sista-2-Sista Youth Summit will bring together high school girls of color to participate in interactive and engaging discussions, workshops, and live entertainment – all of which emphasize personal development, self love and the representation of the Black woman. Presenters and speakers include: Black Girls Rock! Founder Beverly Bond, social critic Michaela Angela Davis, empowerment and relationship specialist Sil Lai Abrams, HBO Award Winning documentarian Stacy Muhammad, wellness entrepreneur Queen Afua, hip hop ambassador Toni Blackman, writer and cultural critic Geneva S. Thomas, author Kerika Fields and many more. This year’s conference will also present distinguishing awards to Black Girls Rock!, GEMS, and a graduating high school senior.
This marks the fourth consecutive year that GNEP’s grassroots efforts have drawn dynamic leaders to address its one hundred plus high school aged girls from throughout the New York City area. It originally began as a vision of Akua Soadwa during her undergraduate years at Mount Holyoke College. Founded in 2007, Akua has been able to bring her idea into fruition with limited resources, grassroots tactics, and the devoted help of friends, family and supporters. The overwhelming majority of the summit’s funding is a result of personal requests and small donor campaigns driven by a volunteer-based planning committee and numerous community supporters and affiliates.
The fourth Annual Sista-2-Sista Youth Summit will open with a West African Dance session, followed by the following workshops: Beauty in the 21st Century, Analog Girl in A Digital World, Forgiveness, Girl Like Me, Hidden Messages in the Media, Self-Love and Unraveling Stories. The day will also include an awards ceremony, an empowerment table, gratitude card making and an opportunity for attendees to record the Stories they are seeking to overcome in order to tap into their full potential. Entertainment will be provided by Toni Blackman’s Rhyme Like A Girl program, Stephcynie Curry, Jazmine “Jazzy” Bailey and more.
“This year’s summit reflects the tremendous growth of the Gye Nyame Empowerment Project and the continual impact we’ve had on New York area high school girls,” said 29-year old GNEP Founder Akua Soadwa. “We are thrilled to introduce a scholarship and other awards as we acknowledge girls and women of color who are empowering others and impacting the community in a positive way.”
For the first time, GNEP will present a series of awards and scholarships to notable organizations and summit participants. The Strength, Courage and Wisdom Award will be presented to GEMS, a girls mentoring program committed to empowering girls to develop the strength, courage and wisdom needed to forgive themselves for past choices and to stand confidently in the new possibilities of today. GEMS will be gifted with a Forgiveness Dress that was collectively created by last year’s Youth Summit participants and designed by BORN (formerly Born as a Raggamuffin). The My Sister’s Keeper Award will be presented to Black Girls Rock! Founder Beverly Bond for the organizations commitment to providing girls with opportunities and access to resources that otherwise would not have been available to them. The Andrea D. Brown Book Scholarship in the amount of $1,000 dollars will be awarded to a high school senior attending a four year accredited college or university.
The Sista-2-Sista Youth Summit is free of charge and open to all teenage girls between the ages of 13 and 17 (pre-registration is required). The Summit will be held at St. Francis College located at 180 Remsen Street in downtown Brooklyn, NY. The day will begin promptly at 9:00am and conclude at 6:45pm. Breakfast, lunch, snacks and giveaways will be provided.