On Friday, December 9, the White House Office of African American Excellence held its African American Women Lead Student Summit to Advance Educational Excellence for Black Girls: #BlackGirls Lead.
The day-long event featured remarks from Black Girl Changemakers Mikaila Ulmer, CEO, and Founder of Me and the Bees; April Star, a young and aspiring model; and Marley Dias, creator of #1000blackgirlbooks. It also included expert panel discussions including Brittany Packnett, Vice President, National Community Alliances, Teach For America; Symone Sanders, former National Press Secretary for Senator Bernie Sanders and CNN Political Commentator; Dr. Kimberlyn Leary, Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Fellow and Advisor to the White House Council on Women and Girls; and Cierra Kaler-Jones, former Miss New Jersey and Assistant Program Coordinator at George Washington University. Black women and girls shared their stories and most importantly their insight in solving the most pressing contemporary issues facing African American women and girls.
The Black Girl Magic filled day began with a Morning Dance routine to First Lady Michelle Obama’s “This is for my Girls” that energized the entire room! Next, we heard inspiring words from actress Tatyana Ali and TyKiah Wright, Commissioner, President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for African Americans.
“It is our duty to ensure our girls’ voices are heard. The core of what we do as women is serve”TyKiah Wright, Commissioner, President Barack Obamas Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for African Americans
We then, we heard from Black Girl Changemakers Ulmer, Star, and Dias.The young, gifted and Black students shared words of wisdom and answered questions from the awe-struck crowd.
Students then attended breakout sessions centered on their possible careers. Their career options included: lawyer, author, humanitarian, scientist, media correspondent, psychologist, CEO and of course – entrepreneur.
The Walker’s Legacy Foundation co-facilitated the entrepreneur workshop with Mikaila Ulmer, a 12-year-old social entrepreneur committed to saving the bees through her highly successful lemonade company. Students ranging in age from 6-17 created and pitched their business ideas and budgets stirring up their own entrepreneurial energy.
Later, both students and adults heard from a panel of African American Women Trailblazers. The panel included Packnett, Sanders, Dr. Leary and Kaler-Jones.
The day ended with a commitment from students and caring and concerned adults to lead the charge in creating and leading a better world for African American women and girls.