Yes you heard that correctly! You better love your magic!
This past month I had the great pleasure of doing a workshop and providing the closing remarks for the Love Your Magic Conference (www.loveyourmagic.com). For those of you who aren't familiar with the conference, here is their mission:
Black and Brown girls are disproportionately punished in school. Our mission is to disrupt this narrative. We believe that self-advocacy, self-love, and sisterhood can positively impact a girl's journey. We empower Black and Brown girls to see the beauty in themselves and each other while providing them with the skills to self-advocate. The Love Your Magic Conference is a space for Black and Brown girls to tell their stories, celebrate each other, and bask in their magic.
The Love Your Magic Conference was created in Boston in 2017 by Chaylin Diaz, Esperancia Paul, Nohely Vargas, Selina Ruiz and Ivanna Solano when they began to notice the criminalization of Black girls in school. For those unaware of what the crimilization of Black girls may look like, getting your hair banned from school or getting sent home are some examples.
When the founders met to discuss their concerns, topics such as the disproportionate suspension rates of Black girls in schools, hit home as they reflected on personal experiences within the education system. They began to develop this vision to create a conference that would empower Black and Brown girls to practice advocacy, self-love, and sisterhood.
One of my favorite parts of the Love Your Magic Conference was the feeling and sense of sisterhood. I have been following Love Your Magic's moves on Instagram and Facebook because of their mission and values, but when my mentor Martine and friend Ivanna reached out to me to collaborate, the sense of sisterhood became even more real. It was empowering to be recognized by your peers.
I was tasked with delivering a workshop based on self advocacy (the action of representing oneself or one's views or interests), to first and second grade girls. Now I know as a 25 year old woman, I sometimes struggle with self advocacy, so when preparing to conduct this workshop, I had to really think of what the foundation of self advocacy was.
If there was one thing that my role models taught me at a young age, it was to have self love. If I couldn't love myself or understand how I wanted people to speak and treat me, how could I ever expect anyone else to know how?
The lesson began with creating their own version of the Mona Lisa. Mona Lisa is one of the most well known portraits in the world. No shade to the Mona Lisa but she doesn't look anything like the Black and Brown women and girls that I've seen.
So we decided to recreate her in their image. We spent our time together discussing how our differences were all beautiful and unique. We then had each girl draw a different part of our "Mona Lisa" and we even renamed her to Lexiella Natiana (a combination of the names they chose).
We discussed how those very features that we found beautiful about ourselves were the same ones that people made fun of. We came up with different things to say when people try to hurt our feelings and how to stick up for ourselves.
The girls left the workshop with solid ideas on how they could speak up for themselves and really advocate for the way they wanted to be treated.
If you know a young girl in the North Shore/Boston area, make sure to check on the www.loveyourmagic.com website to register for the next conference! If you are a workshop facilitator make sure to go an register! Your voice could impact a young girl's life!
Affirm, Affirm, Affirm !
During my closing remarks, I had the pleasure of leading the room in a group affirmation. I encourage you to read the following out loud and remember to LOVE YOUR MAGIC!
I am great.
I am smart.
I am powerful.
I am unique.
My voice matters.
My hair is magic
My melanin is magic.
I am magic.