Photograph by Braelyn Wekwerth
On Thursday, October 11, students gathered across the street from Berkeley High School (BHS), at Civic Center Park during lunch to make art, eat baked goods, browse feminist literature, and celebrate the power and success of girls around the world. The festivities were organized by the BHS Women’s Student Union (WSU) in honor of the International Day of the Girl, which took place on the same day.
The park was filled with music, laughter, and dancing. Throughout the lunch period, the students worked together to create a large painting that read “International Day of the Girl,” which is now hanging in the BHS front office.
In 2011, prompted by youth advocacy groups, the United Nations declared October 11 the International Day of the Girl.
“It was amazing to see how much fun we could have when we brought girls together and celebrated,” said Madison Lease, a BHS senior and co-president of the WSU, along with seniors Sophie Dua and Simone Ewell-Szabo. “I wanted to create a fun environment for the school to celebrate all the amazing girls in the world!” said Lease.
“I believe that celebrating International Day of the Girl is incredibly important,” said junior Cela Parker, a member of the WSU and the media coordinator for BHS Stop Harassing. The WSU has organized multiple events in response to the appointment of Justice Brett Kavanaugh, including the making of a video featuring students speaking in opposition to the appointment.
“With the Dr. Ford vs Kavanaugh being so fresh in everyone’s minds, and … that woman shouldn’t be less accountable than men,” said Nina Kelley, a BHS sophomore, who attended the event.
“This [celebration] is especially important in our current political climate because the men in charge of our country have no respect for girls, which creates an environment in the U.S. where men are taught that they don’t have to respect girls,” added Lease. Despite the somewhat bitter feelings in the air as a result of recent political events, those who attended the celebration unanimously agreed that the event was a joyful one, meant to invoke positivity. “[The event] really brought the students at Berkeley High together,” said Kelley. “I really felt like I could talk to anyone and everyone and that for once, there was no bad energy, only love and unity.”