In my own words: Sisterhood Rising

Did you hear about the rose that grew from a crack in the concrete?

This August, I returned to the space that motivated me for years as a young woman growing up in City Heights, and I was reminded that I am capable of transforming my community.

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There were dozens of roses blooming in the Sisterhood Rising Retreat, growing and blossoming despite injustice in the air. I saw a young lady gain the courage to stand in front of her sisters and sing. I saw another young woman physically and morally support her team during the ropes course. I was in the same spot not too long ago.

This space was created for us to finally step out of the box that society puts us in, for these young women to acknowledge that they are not weeds because their skin color is a darker shade, and to learn not to be ashamed of the battle scars they all have from the constant struggle of oppression.

For the first time, many youth at camp feel like they can take down the walls they put up to protect themselves. As Margarita Luna once said, they are able bring down the masks that they wear everyday back in their communities, finally accepted for who they are. We encourage these young women to embrace where they come from because it shapes them deeply. It is a space where they put the puzzle pieces together to discover who they are and why.

Their ability to grow as individuals was a source of inspiration for me, encouraging me to reflect on my next move in my own life after leaving City Heights to go to college. It is amazing to see the growth of courage, confidence, and knowledge among young leaders from different ethnicities, cultures, communities, and struggles.

For so long I was given the space to share my story and experience with other young leaders. This year, Sisterhood Rising motivated me to step aside and give the floor to others. I want these young women to understand that their stories have power. That regardless of where they are from, they can dream big and accomplish those dreams. My return to Sisterhood Rising is my motivation to keep fighting to free our dreams as young women of color.

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