This Fall, ESSENCE announced its newest initiative featuring tons of #BlackGirlMagic. ESSENCE Girls United is a program dedicated to helping teenage girls increase their academic potential, teach self-love and improve leadership skills. With its focus on mentoring young girls, this multi-platform program will feature year-round video, digital and social content that will focus on core pillars, including: “Owning Your Power,” “Presenting with Confidence,” “Developing Brand You,” “Finding Your Voice,” “Making a Difference In Your Community,” “Life Skills 101,” and “Self-Love.” The initiative will also feature workshops and conversations with thought leaders, a social network directory for girls to interact with each other, a mentorship program, a leadership development “tool kit,” events such as the upcoming ESSENCE Girls United Summit and much more.
Her Modern Life: After learning about Girls United, I read an article where you mentioned the school to prison pipeline. When discussing school discipline, Black girls are disproportionately punished- does this initiative plan to combat that?
Charreah Jackson: Absolutely! At its very core, it’s a policy issue. Black people, especially girls have always been over-policed. And that over-policing ultimately impacts a young girls self-esteem, which leads to wider issues. If we can reach them where they are, we can make a difference. We aim to improve the mind, body and spirit of the next generation.
HML: Let’s talk about the leadership development “tool kit”. If you had to give a group of young women a tool kit for life, what would be in it?
CJ: My tool kit would consist of lessons in certain areas.
HML: If you had to pick five things to teach them, what would those lessons be?
CJ: Self-actualization, conflict resolution… I’d love to teach them about boundaries- especially with technology. I’d teach them the importance of community and relationships; you should a;ways have them before you need them. And lastly, patience. Muscle building is in the preparation!
HML: Another huge part of this program is the collaboration with Ulta Beauty. That’s huge!
CJ: Yes, we’re really proud of it [ESSENCE Girls United: Beautiful Possibilities].
HML: I’m excited about this. Mostly because I know how important representation in the beauty industry is. Why’s it important to Essence?
CJ: It’s all about opportunity. That’s the point of this-the point of representation. Black women make up the largest group of educated people as well as the largest growing group of entrepreneurs. And because of that, Black women have received tons of backlash- borderline punishment. So now it’s more important than ever that we create this opportunities for each other. We want Black girls to grown up and be successful and healthy. Hopefully Girls United will touch the future. Essence is actively trying to leave an impact for generations to come!
ESSENCE has always been an amazing resource for Black women. For more on ESSENCE Girls United visit ESSENCE.com/GirlsUnited, pick up the November issue of ESSENCE or join the conversation on social @Essence #ESSENCEGirlsUnited.